Internet breaks boost worker productivity, study says
However, a recent study shows that this effort to improve productivity may actually stifle it. In the study, funded by PopCap Games, a Goldsmiths University psychologist oversaw psychometric trials on a cross-section of U.K. businesses to compare how different types of online breaks affected workers' performance. The conclusion? Taking a 10-minute break to surf the Internet reduces stress and sharpens the mind, resulting in increased morale and company profits. Here are the top five most beneficial Web-based breaks, according to the study:
1. Puzzles and games
2. Social networking and personal e-mails
4. General surfing
5. Life administration, such as banking
What does this all mean for you? While it probably isn't appropriate to offer your team members unlimited Internet access, it wouldn't hurt—and it could help—to give them a chance to go online during breaks, for instance. You could even encourage them to visit sites that are fun and work-related. Whatever you decide, it's a good idea to outline your practice's Internet-use policy so all your team members clearly understand your expectations.