Break Time and the Website Block: Friend or Foe?

April 5, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Look at yourself now. Sitting there, many of you in that cubicle with those dull grey-colored walls surrounding you. If you an employee, you’re wondering if you’ll be caught or how you should be getting some work done, as opposed to taking your unplanned break time on the web. You revel in the fact that you found a way to entertain yourself around the website block. If you’re a supervisor, you’re basically wondering the same thing, with the added thought of whether or not there should be a website block on this. 


Should you be taking your break time right now?

It’s the never-ending cycle of employee against employer. Through the stress, the employee finally caves, throws caution to the wind, and begins their break time on the spot. The employer, wishing to meet their deadlines and push productivity to the max, searches out these distracting sites and places a block on them. Yet what they fail to realize is that this cycle in and of itself is counter-productive and that these unplanned break times are, in fact, increasing work productivity.

It’s not time wasting; it’s employee productivity enhancing!

Most popular website to block.
Also the hardest.

A relatively recent study was done by Don J.Q. Chen and Vivien K.G Lim of the National University of Singapore in 2011 proving that allowing unplanned break times on the internet (in moderation of course) and not placing a website block on entertainment and social sites do boost productivity. You’ll find this much similar to the older study I mentioned in the past by Dr. Brent Coker of the Department of Management and Marketing at Melbourne University in 2009, which had garnered the same results. 

Both studies were approached similarly: a control group was set in a normal work environment, another was allowed to take their break time in anyway other than online, and the third was given complete online access without the website block on social, entertainment, and shopping sites. The results were the same: the third group was marginally more productive than the other two.

Don’t block. Manage.

This self-regulated break time, this power given to the employees, allows them to determine on their on factors if they need a break or not. This opportunity allows them to return to work, refreshed, rejuvenated, and even motivated, as opposed to feeling like they have to work around the website blocks or forced to resume their projects. Naturally, too much break time has the opposite effect which is why it’s critical to give the employees a non-intrusive monitoring system that would show them how productive they are being or how much time they are wasting.

See related articles here and here.

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