Facebook breaks mean happier, more productive employees?

Summary:Does Facebook at work make employees happier and more productive? Some say yes, and believe it should be unbanned at the workplace. I think Facebook should be allowed, but for different reasons.

If Facebook is blocked at your workplace, tell your boss to reconsider. Facebook breaks makes employees happier, healthier, and more productive, according to an infographic released by corporate wellness firm Keas.

Keas says there are many benefits of visiting Facebook at work. First off, the social network was indirectly linked to employee health and happiness. People can be positively affected by the happiness of others, even if that happiness is viewed online, such as on the world's most popular social network.

The firm also cited an Academy of Management study that found employees who were allowed to use Facebook were more productive than co-workers who were not. The problem is that the study didn't distinguish between the Internet and Facebook very well.

Workers were divided into three groups: one that was allowed no breaks (participants had to bundle sticks into groups of five), one that was allowed to do anything but use the Internet (participants could make phone calls to friends, for example), and one that was allowed 10 minutes to use the Internet and Facebook (or even play online games). The Facebook group was found to be 16 percent more productive than the group that was not allowed to use the Internet and 39 percent more productive than the group that was allowed no breaks.

If you prefer the visual version, here is the infographic:

"Face it: Employees are going on social networks and browsing the web in the office. In an age when social tools pervade every aspect of our lives, the corporate debate over allowing employees to partake in these activities during work hours is a controversial one," the infographic concludes. "In moderation, these breaks can encourage psychological engagement and perhaps even help increase productivity."

Despite these findings, I don't see how a Facebook break is better than a break without the social network. Everyone can find an excellent way to unwind without specifically having to use Facebook.

That being said, I don't agree with banning Facebook at work. Unproductive employees are going to waste time regardless of what sites you ban.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser, Collaboration, Networking

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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