Virtual Memo: Surfing the Net During Work is a Helpful Break

Boost productivity and refresh your mind with a lil’ internet surf sesh

Early findings from a University of Cincinnati study reveal that like the more traditional coffee or lunch break, an online break can boost productivity and make workers feel refreshed.

The researchers outlined three main consequences of online work breaks:

  • momentary recovery 
  • learning 
  • satisfaction

Sung Doo Kim, lead study author, says “Employees reported benefits on going online to balance their work and personal responsibilities, such as checking on their children … After reassuring themselves about their children, they were better able to focus on their work.” His interviews revealed that workers take online work breaks when they feel a need for recovery, like feeling frazzled from an intense work period, breaking monotony or boredom, checking on demands at home and other personal demands, or emotional work-related events that triggered anger or frustration.

“There’s little research about whether workers take online or offline breaks in distinct ways, therefore, this exploratory study fills an important gap in that research by providing evidence into what motivates online or offline work breaks,” says Kim. More research will be done about how companies can build in coporate policies and structures that make use of online breaks but provide guidelines to prevent abuse.

Because, of course, the researchers add the caveat that if taken in an undisciplined manner, online breaks could turn into cyberloafing, resulting in the excessive loss of time and productivity.

Image: Some rights reserved by Bark

Category: Psych

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