Terms for taking work breaks

It’s not good to work for eight or nine hours in a row without taking a break! For one, you are going to get hungry, and want to eat a meal or a snack. For another, you will probably go insane! I know I would if I worked that many hours in a row without at least getting out of my chair and walking around the office for a while, talking with some friends, or surfing a few web sites.

Today I’m going to talk about some of the different types of breaks you might take during a typical workday, and when you might take them. True, these are probably self-explanatory – but I’m going to talk about them anyway!

Coffee break

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The coffee break is my favorite type of break! This break, of course, is when you get up from your desk, head to the break room, and have yourself a nice cup of coffee. I’ll take mine with a bit of sugar and a bit of milk.

Most offices have a break room with a fridge, a sink, paper towels, and a microwave oven. Most workplaces also offer free drip coffee to their employees. In the break room you can prepare your lunch or grab a coffee; often there are tables and chairs there where you can sit for a while and talk with your coworkers.

Usually the coffee found in break rooms is pretty terrible! To combat this problem you might bring your own premium blends of coffee into work. A friend at my last workplace had an Nespresso machine… I am a big fan of the espresso drinks you can make from this machine! You pop a little capsule of coffee grinds into the machine, turn it on, and out comes a little espresso drink that will certainly brighten your afternoon.

At the bank I worked at in Dublin, Ireland, tea breaks were very popular. Once during the morning and once during the afternoon myself and most of my coworkers would get up in unison (in unison means “at one time”) and head to the break room for tea. They even had a service in the break room with people to serve you hot drinks and snacks. I don’t remember much coffee being consumed – in Dublin, tea was the drink of choice!

Smoke break

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I’m not a smoker. But if I was one, I would definitely take smoke breaks!

Smoke breaks (or cigarette breaks) are breaks when employees will get up from their desks to head outside the office to have a cigarette. A lot of times people will head out together to have a smoke; smoke breaks tend to be social occasions. This is one of the perks that smokers have – a built-in excuse to go outside to take a break. And I’m all for it – I think that taking breaks from work is healthy! – though of course I don’t think that smoking itself is a healthy activity.

Lunch break

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The daily lunch break may also be referred to as lunch hour (though it might be longer or shorter than an hour). In the United States lunchtime tends to be short; many workplaces restrict lunchtimes to a half hour total. Currently I’m living in France, where lunchtime tends to be longer – many businesses close for two or more hours during the middle of the day for lunch. In other countries, such as some Latin American countries, people take siestas. These are even lengthier breaks during the workday where you can go home and take a nap before heading back to work!

Recess

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You don’t take recess in a workplace – recess takes place in primary or elementary schools. Regardless, this is a good bit of English vocabulary that signifies a break from class. When you’re a kid, once every morning and once every afternoon the school bell rings signifying recess! You head outside to the playground with your classmates to kick around a ball, swing on a swing, or play some foursquare. Here in France jumping rope is very popular among elementary school-age children. I must admit I think recess is a great practice and wish that workplaces had recess as well!

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