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Social Media Breaks BOOST Productivity

As you begin to sort through the items on your to-do list today, you fear you may not even have enough time to take a lunch break! But, for many of us, why is it we always seem to find time to check out our Facebook notifications or sneak a little browse through our Twitter mentions during the long workday?

Unbeknownst to most, about half of CEO’s prohibit the use of Facebook and other social media sites at work, considering social media as the largest distraction employees are faced with at work. Read any blog about distractions at work and social media platforms will be at the forefront of the list. But don’t be too quick to take away America’s most relatable obsession during working hours.

Despite the common belief, research has been conducted to prove the contrary. It may be time to rethink company rules and culture to enable higher productivity levels at the workplace. Corporate wellness site Keas makes the case for Facebook. In moderation, short social media breaks make employees happier, healthier, and even more productive, according to this new research.

The study went as follows:

Workers were divided into three groups: One group was provided no breaks during the day, the second group was able to do anything they wanted during their short breaks (make phone calls to friends, use the restroom, etc.) and the final group was permitted to browse the Internet, including their social media sites, for 10 minutes.

All groups were then assigned to the same monotonous task of counting the amount of letter A’s in over 2,000 words.

Finally, a questionnaire was given measuring their mental states.

The results?

Internet browsers were 16 percent more productive than those allowed a break with no Internet.

Internet browsers were 39 percent more productive than the none-rest group.

How could this be?

According to Dr. Brent Coker, department of management and marketing at the University of Melbourne, “Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf on the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher net total concentration for a day’s work, and as a result, increased productivity.” Short breaks of freedom during a long and stressful day may be the elementary school recess of the working world.

Too much of anything is never a good thing- you have heard it before. The key here is to enforce a well-thought-out social media policy for your employees. This shift in company culture may be just the boost your company needs, especially during these tough summer months. Let the brains of your employees rest and catch up on the outside world. View it as a simple employee perk in an economic time when bonuses and raises may not be an option. It only takes a few minutes for Facebook, Twitter, and the like to fill us in on the daily scoop – and we all want the scoop. In return, your employees may be more willing to tackle their workload after their quick mental relief.

What do you think? Have you allowed social media breaks at your company? Why or why not?

IMAGE: Courtesy of Lifehacker.

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writers career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Connect with Heather and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.