There have long been debates on whether employers should offer smoke breaks to their workers, and many do in order to keep up company morale. What if the same theory applied to smartphone breaks?
According to a new study from Kansas State University, that may not be such a bad idea.
Sooyeol Kim, a doctoral student at KSU, conducted a study on the impact of smartphone microbreaks on working individuals. He assessed the day-to-day activities of 72 full-time workers and found they spent, on average, 22 minutes of their workdays on their smartphones. Those who were able to take quick breaks during their work days to check their phones ended up being much happier at the end of the day.
“A smartphone microbreak can be beneficial for both the employee and the organization,” said Kim. “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.”
To monitor each participant’s smartphone usage, Kim installed an application on his or her phone to privately keep track of smartphone activity throughout the day. His results indicated that smartphone microbreaks may not be a bad idea for the future.
“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. “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.”