PLoS One. 2022 Aug 31;17(8):e0272460. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0272460. eCollection 2022.
Recovery activities during short breaks taken between work tasks are solutions for preventing the impairing effects of accumulated strain. No wonder then that a growing body of scientific literature from various perspectives emerged on this topic. The present meta-analysis is aimed at estimating the efficacy of micro-breaks in enhancing well-being (vigor and fatigue) and performance, as well as in which conditions and for whom are the micro-breaks most effective. We searched the existent literature on this topic and aggregated the existing data from experimental and quasi-experimental studies. The systematic search revealed 19 records, which resulted in 22 independent study samples (N = 2335). Random-effects meta-analyses shown statistically significant but small effects of micro-breaks in boosting vigor (d = .36, p < .001; k = 9, n = 913), reducing fatigue (d = .35, p < .001; k = 9, n = 803), and a non-significant effect on increasing overall performance (d = .16, p = .116; k = 15, n = 1132). Sub-groups analyses on performance types revealed significant effects only for tasks with less cognitive demands. A meta-regression showed that the longer the break, the greater the boost was on performance. Overall, the data support the role of micro-breaks for well-being, while for performance, recovering from highly depleting tasks may need more than 10-minute breaks. Therefore, future studies should focus on this issue.