“Smartphone Microbreaks” Banned in Most Workplaces But Could Actually Boost Productivity


A recent study at Kansas State University, has found that the forbidden office phone-time peeking spent scanning social media sites or playing on a game could actually be beneficial for workers. According to Sooyeol Kim, a doctorial student in psychologial sciences who conducted the investigation, this is because it allows employees to recover from stress, and helps them to cope with demands of the workplace.

The study looked at 72 full-time workers from a range of industries. Kim and collaborates then developed an app which participants installed onto their phones, which privately and securely measured smartphone usage during work hours. Participants were also made to note down how they felt about their well-being at the end of every day.

The results from their studies showed that on average, people spend 22 minutes on their smartphones during an eight hour workday, and although this may sound like a distraction that would have a negative impact upon productivity, they actually found workers felt less stressed when they had the opportunity to talk to family and friends, or play on a game briefly, in order to take a short break and refresh their minds.

Workers can not be expected to concentrate continuously, and as Kim said, it is all about balance. Of course, playing a game for an hour would affect performance, however a “smartphone microbreak” seems to allow time to recharge. The study also found that workers who took breaks felt happier at the end of the day and less stressed.

Michael Lewin


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