Culture Shift: Stop Hustling, Start Breaking

“Don’t focus on the Pain. Focus on the progress.” If you type “motivational quotes” into Google, you will likely notice a trend that has become increasingly critiqued among workplace professionals in recent years. Probably 1 in 4 of the quotes you see include similar language to the one you just read. Conquer. Persevere. Power through. Trust the process. No pain no gain. These themes are all indicators of what many have deemed “Hustle Culture.” Hustle Culture, according to an article published by Taylor University, can be defined as “the state of overworking to the point where it becomes a lifestyle.” In other words, pushing oneself to the absolute limit for as long as possible in order to achieve one’s goals. Our society often idolizes figures who have worked their way to the top, grinding until they got what they were looking for. And while hard work is valuable and necessary to achieve one’s goals, when the values of hustle culture are applied to an office environment the results can become toxic.

Worker burnout

In a survey conducted by Indeed, more than half of their respondents reported that they’d experienced burnout - “a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress.” Deloitte conducted a similar study, noting that “77% of people have experienced burnout at their job and 42% have left their jobs because they felt burned out.” Working long hours on multiple projects without giving yourself ample time for breaks and personal time is a significant proponent of burnout, and one of the key values of hustle culture.

In other words, hustle culture promotes a work environment that is unsustainable and inevitably leads to worker burnout or, in some instances, resignations. 2021 saw a “20-year high” for the country's “quit rate,” due to a combination of factors ranging from low wages to unimpressive benefits. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center on the matter, 39% of workers left their jobs because they felt they were working too many hours. 63% pointed to a lack of advancement opportunities as the reason they left. With the pandemic exacerbating burnout among remote workers and pushing many to pursue new job opportunities, it’s important that businesses reevaluate their office culture. Companies should consider how they can best protect their employees from toxic work practices while also retaining talented staff amidst a competitive job market. 

In an attempt to move away from toxic office culture, some companies are looking towards the other end of the cultural spectrum - from hustling to breaking. “Break culture,” according to a recent Forbes article, is an “[office culture] that promotes regular work breaks and work-life balance.” This may mean breaking free from the standard 9 to 5 mold and working asynchronously, or just taking more personal time throughout the day to ensure that the work you are doing is focused and high-quality. Some of the benefits that have been associated with break culture include: improved physical and emotional health, thoughtful decision making, increased motivation, increased productivity and creativity, and improved memory and learning. Break culture aims to ensure that employees have the energy and motivation to produce high-quality work.

Co-workers in a meeting

It’s important to note, however, that when to take breaks is just as important as how many breaks you are taking. For example, if one of your co-workers is hard at work on a report, steadily focused on the task at hand, it would be harmful for them to break up that process with… a break. So, in order to best implement break culture, it’s important for managers to give employees enough time to work on tasks without interruption.

If a manager is interested in getting the benefits of a break-focused culture, how should they go about promoting it within their company? According to the Harvard Business Review, the four generally accepted attributes of company culture are that it is (1) shared among all employees, (2) prevalent at all levels of the company, (3) able to direct employee actions over the long-term, and (4) implicitly followed by all members of the organization. In other words, for a company culture to be truly effective in implementing that company’s strategy, that culture must be adopted at all levels of the organization over a prolonged period of time. So, a manager looking to adopt a break-oriented culture at their business should make sure that they themselves live by the same values that that culture promotes. In short, lead by example. A manager should also seek to create a workspace that both explicitly and implicitly communicates the culture they are looking to implement. For instance, scheduling required break times and workplace social activities will slowly help employees become comfortable with taking frequent breaks throughout the workday. To make the shift away from hustle culture towards break culture, companies must actively work to ensure their staff are utilizing time for themselves throughout the day, whether that be through formal conversations with their employees, or furniture that communicates their values around the office.

Work breaks

Commonwealth Joe’s beverage tap communicates a healthy balance of work and play in the office and helps promote break culture in the workplace. With our dual-tap kegerators your office can provide employees with CWJ’s award-winning Nitro Cold Brew, encouraging productivity and focus, along with Seltzer, Kombucha, or Tea, promoting relaxation and socialization. Frequent visits to the office tap also give employees a reason to leave their desk, take a break, and chat with their co-workers. Acting as this generation's “water cooler,” CWJ’s beverage tap generates opportunities for impromptu brainstorming sessions as well as informal conversation that would not take place within the usual company communication channels. These casual interactions between co-workers are  important to ensure your organization maintains a transparent, safe, and supportive work-environment. Implementing formal traditions, such as company “happy-hours” around the office tap, can help lead to a work culture that inherently supports frequent breaks and positive relationships among employees.

Co-workers enjoying CWJ Nitro Cold Brew

 If you’re looking for a change in your company culture, whether that’s formally shifting from hustle to break culture, or anything in between, let CWJ’s tap be your “healthy culture carrier.” Support your staff and your business with Commonwealth Joe’s craft beverages on tap! 

If you are interested, send an email to to get started.

By: Christian Hall

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