Clear Your Head and Boost Your Productivity with Quick Internet Breaks

Sep 18, 2014

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Candy Crush fans, listen up: playing this popular game for short bursts during the workday might actually make you more productive workers. So can a quick check of status updates on Facebook or shopping for some new duds at an online clothing retailer.

According to an interesting Australian study, workers who were allowed to engage in what researchers called Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing (WILB) were actually more productive at work than employees who were forbidden from going on the Internet during the day. More specifically, workers who spent a reasonable amount of time on the Internet during the day were found to get about 9 percent more accomplished.

How downtime can lead to upped productivity

The reason people who spend some leisure time on the Internet during the workday can crank out more work in the long run boils down to a concept that HRM Online calls “psychological energy.” An employee can only get so much accomplished before he or she will need a break. In most cases, people can focus on a task for about two hours at a time. Once this time is over, workers need to find ways to replenish their pool of mental energy so they can effectively tackle their next task. For many people, a quick Internet break is a great way to do just that.

Regular Internet breaks can reduce burnout

As Business News Daily notes, one of the best ways for employees to get a good break from their work and not risk burning out is to mentally disengage from everything that is going on in the office. Instead of heading to the break room, where chats with fellow employees might inevitably turn to work-related projects and events, staying put at their desks and spending 10 or so minutes mindlessly checking out favorite websites is a great way to disconnect from office-related stress.

Fun and effective forms of WILB

People who wish to spend their breaks recharging their brain batteries on the Internet should check with their boss to make sure this will be okay. Workers can assure their employers they will not spend an excessive amount of time on the Internet, and once they engage in this practice for a couple of weeks, they can show their bosses tangible proof of their increased productivity.

It’s also important for employees to know themselves when it comes to the Internet and realize that not all WILB is created equally. For example, people who marvel at how much time they waste on Twitter might want to keep the social media site off limits while at work and instead use Internet breaks to complete some non-work related errands. People who are concerned about identity theft and have been meaning to sign up for a service that will keep their vital information and private data safe and secure can use their Internet breaks to check out the LifeLock website and enroll in the program. Parents whose kids are having a birthday soon can spend 10 or so minutes checking out party supply websites and booking the party at the local indoor trampoline facility in Toronto or Vancouver. Or if playing games online is relaxing in short bursts, employees can chill out at their desks for a few minutes between projects and strive to line up three colorful candies in a row.