July 8, 2014
Employees Are Happier When They Get Short Smartphone Breaks
Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
According to a new study from the Kansas State University, taking microbreaks for non-work related play on smartphones during the day helps boost production and overall moral of the employee.
Sooyeol Kim, a doctoral student in psychological sciences at KSU, conducted the study of 72 full-time workers from a variety of industries and found that the average employee spends about 22 minutes a day during work hours on their smartphones. It was also concluded that employees who take smartphone breaks are generally happier by the end of the workday.
“A smartphone microbreak can be beneficial for both the employee and the organization. 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.
Kim gathered the information by developing an application that studied privately and securely, the usage of the participants’ smartphones during the workday. It also put the employees in various categories like entertainment which includes playing games and social media like Facebook and Twitter. At the end of the day, the participants recorded how they saw their own well-being.
“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,” Kim said.
According to Kim, it is nearly impossible for a person to go through a whole eight-hour workday without losing concentration, so it is important that an employee has a break. He also believes that smartphone microbreaks are similar to other microbreaks employees take, such as chatting with coworkers, walking around 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. We need to understand how we can help people recover and cope with stressors. Smartphones might help and that is really important not only for individuals, but for an organization, too,” Kim said.
Kim presented his findings at the 29th annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference in May. This study was just a portion of Kim’s overall study on workplace microbreaks.
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