All work and no smartphone play will dull your employees

Your colleagues benefit from online diversions such as electronic games and social media interactions—in moderation, of course—according to a new study.

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When employees use their smartphone at work to play a quick game, browse the Web or check on personal email, it improves their well-being, according to a new study from Kansas State University.

Researchers found that allowing workers short respites to play on their phones throughout the day creates a net benefit.

“A smartphone micro-break can be beneficial for both the employee and the organization,” said study author Sooyel Kim, a doctoral student at Kansas State. “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.”

Mindless or mindful?

Kim’s thesis follows the well-documented effect of short breaks throughout the workday increasing the mental focus of employees.

In the KSU study, Kim and her researchers were curious as to whether seemingly “mindless” tasks such as playing Angry Birds or checking Facebook yielded the same results.

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