Smartphone Breaks Benefit Businesses, Study


Smartphone microbreaks might benefit, and not disrupt, businesses, according to a Kansas State University study.

The researchers said that employees taking a short break to text their friend, to play "Angry Birds" or check Facebook, makes them more productive and happier during the workday.

For the study, the researchers surveyed 72 full-time employees from various organisations. An app installed on all participants' smartphones measured the devise's usage during work hours. The app divided the employees' smartphone usage into categories like entertainment (games like "Angry Birds" or "Candy Crush") or social media (Facebook and Twitter). At the end of each workday, the participants reported on their well-being.

The researchers found that workers spend an average of 22 minutes on their smart phones out of an eight-hour workday. And, those who took smartphone breaks throughout the day, were found to be the happiest at the end of the day.

"By interacting with friends or family members through a smartphone or by playing a short game, we found that employees can recover from some of their stress to refresh their minds and take a break," Sooyeol Kim, doctoral student in psychological sciences, said in a press release.

"For example, if I would play a game for an hour during my working hours, it would definitely hurt my work performance. But if I take short breaks of one or two minutes throughout the day, it could provide me with refreshment to do my job."

Kim said that taking micorbreaks throughout the workday is a must because it is difficult for an employee to concentrate for eight straight hours. Such breaks help them to meet demands of a workplace. Smartphone microbreaks are similar to other microbreaks like chatting with colleagues, walking around the hallway or getting a cup of coffee.

"These days, people struggle with a lot of different types of stressors, such as work demands, time scheduling, family issues or personal life issues," Kim said. "Smartphones might help and that is really important not only for individuals, but for an organization, too."

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