This article outlines the need to take pauses during our work day and offers some suggestions as to how that can happen.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Most people recognize that the workplace pace continues to accelerate, and a blending of work and personal life is becoming more and more common. When the pandemic hit and more people were required to work from home, there was a change in people’s habits and experiences. Now that the restrictions are being relaxed and more people are being asked to return to the workplace there has been a surge in resignations. Employees are simply not wanting to return to their previous existence and the rat race it entails. Aside from the employer’s expectations, what caused this sense of pressure-packed work days? Many experts argue that it is a result of our failure to manage effectively our efforts and our time. They suggest that we need to build in what they refer to as “white space” in order to be focused and effective with minimal stress. What they mean by white space are short breaks that recharge and refocus us. This helps to reduce anxiety and stress and makes our work experience more tolerable. Perhaps if we were better at this there would be less inclination to leave our jobs. This lesson will draw the attention of the students to this need and require them to consider how they might accomplish these white spaces.

Subject Area(s) covered

Business studies, social studies, entrepreneurship, careers

New Terms to explain

White space

Materials Needed

Access to the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  • We are responsible for creating our own white space;
  • Consideration must be given to how we manage our day and our priorities;
  • We must be vigilant in monitoring our work habits to ensure appropriate balance and focus.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students to identify what features new subdivisions and cities profile when seeking to promote themselves.
  • Make a list of their suggestions and, if they have not suggested it, ensure that the idea of green space is on the list.
  • Ask them to explain what is meant by green space and have them explain why they think it is so important.
  • With this as background, explain to them that experts also stress the need to have green space in our daily workday only they refer to it as “white space” – brief breaks from the normal routine during the day in order to keep us fresh and sharp.
  • Pair the students up and ask the pairs to list ideas as to how they could build white space into their day without appearing to slack off.

Consolidation of Learning

  • Give them time to complete their discussions and then reconvene the class and have the pairs report their ideas, responding to any questions and comments.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

The students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the need for white space during a working day;
  • Be able to articulate effective ways of building white space into our daily routines.

Confirming Activities

  • Once they have concluded their reports and discussion, direct their attention to the article and have them read it.
  • Hold a plenary session and get their reactions to what they have just read.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Assume that you are the owner of a business and you recognize the importance of white space for effective work. What would you do to build in that white space for your employees?
  • Examine what large organizations such as Google and IBM do to provide opportunities for white space for their employees.
  • Poll the students in your school to see how important the opportunity for white space during the workday is to them when considering employment.