Facebook and YouTube Breaks Boost Productivity, Study Says
Article by George Norman
On 03 Apr 2009
Your employer might now want or like you sneaking a peek at your Facebook profile, or viewing a short video clip on YouTube during office hours, but according to a study by Dr. Brent Coker he should encourage you to do so as it boosts productivity. You will certainly not be productive if you spend all day long browsing YouTube or Facebook, but you will see a productivity increase if you take short breaks to browse the two aforementioned sites.

Dr. Coker, Melbourne University Department of Management and Marketing, explains: “People who do surf the internet for fun at work - within a reasonable limit of less than 20 per cent of their total time in the office - are more productive by about nine per cent than those who don't. Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos on YouTube, using social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity. However that's not always the case.”


So how much does that 20% of the “total time in the office” amount to? Well, assuming your typical work day consists of 8 hours, that would be 96 minutes per day (1.6 hours) spent browsing the web in short breaks (some 10 minutes every hour, 8 breaks per day). So the next time that your employer asks you to stop watching YouTube and get back to work, just cite Dr. Coker and say that your browsing the web is actually good for the company. If you’re employer is not satisfied and you need to bring valid arguments on how your “slacking off” is good for productivity, here it is:

“People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration, says Dr. Coker. "Think back to when you were in class listening to a lecture - after about 20 minutes your concentration probably went right down, yet after a break your concentration was restored. Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a day's work, and as a result, increased productivity.”

Your mind is not the only one that needs to take a break; your eyes need to do so too. When you spend all your work day in front of the computer, your eyes will inevitably feel the strain – hence the need to take a break. EyesRelax is a free piece of software that we’ve covered before here and that will inform you when it is time to take a break and give your eyes some much needed rest.

There is one thing you need to be cautious about though – internet addiction. Internet addicts spend way more time than they should online, do not take a break when they should be, and have the tendency to get irritable when you disturb their surfing the net. For these people, taking a short YouTube or Facebook break does not improve productivity. Luckily, we here at FindMySoft have covered something that might be of help if you think you cannot resist the urge to frequently visit a web page: KeepMeOut.

Tags: YouTube, Facebook, Productivity
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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