Go ‘Head & Play ‘Candy Crush’ At Work! Study Says Smartphone Usage Increases Productivity

July 9, 2014  |  

If your boss catches you red-handed scrolling through Instagram, and she gives you can earful, you can actually tell her that you’re being a productive employee. Science says so!  Researchers find that dipping out of work for a short smartphone break actually boosts company morale, Daily Mail reports.

Swamped with paperwork in the office, it’s likely that your sweet tooth is begging you for a break — it’s time to play some Candy Crush Saga. But you needn’t feel guilty about “wasting” company time. According to Sooyoel Kim, a Kansas State University doctoral student, a little smartphone downtime is actually both beneficial to the company and the employees:

“By interacting with friend or family member 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.

Researchers developed and installed an app onto the smartphones of 72 employed participants. The app measured how much time the user spent on his or her device. Then the participants were required to record how they felt at the end of their workday. The result? Smartphone microbreaks create “happier, more productive” employees.

Scrolling through your news feed on Facebook or liking a few Instagram photos, Kim says, is equivalent to taking a coffee break or shooting the breeze with a co-worker in the hallway.

“Such breaks are important because they can help employees cope with the demands on the workplace,” said Kim. “These days, people struggle with a lot of different types of stressors, such a work demands, time scheduling, family issues or personal life issues.”

On average, people spent 22 minutes a day on their smartphones during eight-hour shifts — that’s just 4.5 percent of the workday.

Now, do I think we should issue a national decree to implement smartphone breaks into the workday? Heck no. You give people a hand and they take the whole arm. Workers would start setting up their XBox 360 systems near their desks.

Hypothetically, if I were a boss lady, I’d still uphold the “no smartphone” rule — most workers don’t abide by it anyway, but at least they’re astute enough to be subtle about it.

If I do spot a worker tapping away at their phones, I’d turn a blind eye. After all, a few LOLs, #WorkSucks, and “I hate mondays” on social media never hurt nobody, right? But if he or she crosses the line and starts blogging an essay, I can still point to my “no smartphone” policy and keep ’em in check.

What do you think? Should employers ditch the “no smartphone” rule?

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