Facebook breaks mean happier, more productive employees?

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

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

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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  • Have "locked down" PCs in the Break Rooms

    Most corporations, and governments, do not want people using their equipment for personal items. So what they really should do is put in non-networked PCs into the break areas that are locked down and secured to ensure nothing gets installed, then allow people to use those systems during breaks to get to Facebook, etc. (And locking down the ability to save things on the systems and also profiles, cached docs etc so that when people sign off all personal type info is wiped out).

    Of course if they have enough systems in the break rooms then people can actually interact WITH their co-workers as they interact on the social app sites and actually would even better the overall working enviromnent.

    And breaks are actually best if done away from your normal work area since now you get up, walk around, get exercise, and it gives your mind a break from your normal desk view etc.
  • Why just Facebook?

    The issue is most large companies have concerns about actions done on their network. What if that creepy guy in accounting was stalking an ex or posted something that is inappropriate (or illegal) So you filter the content which is not what people want.

    People want PRIVACY at work to do whatever they want so any company is going to have a hard time from an HR / Legal / Compliance stance to provide that and ENABLE employees to do so. Thus people use their own mobile devices.

    If work provides access to Facebook why can't they allow others to game, watch video etc.

    Unless your in some marketing department and use social networking for such reason leave your personal usage to home. Many Gen Y workers need to understand and learn this as I see the "entitlement" attitude in interns and it casts a negative light on how you perform at work.

    The other side of the argument is how does internet usage differ broke a smoke break, or walk etc? Lets not confuse the issue between usage and unproductive employees. One is complex and the other is a management / HR issue.
  • Security issues with Facebook and other Social Media sites

    Based on the data in our department, we always err on the side of security. Our proxy server blocks Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and GooglePlus and any others that aren't explicitly allowed. If employees want to use their own devices on their breaks, I don't have a problem with that, they just don't need to use office resources to browse social media sites.
  • my boss has to read this!

    I absolutely agree! I'll forward this to my boss. Maybe he'd change his mind about using Facebook at word. In the end, everyone does use it on their smart phones including himself and everyone knows that.
  • Don't most people just get on with their smartphones anyway?

    At my last job, Facebook was allowed for social media marketing, but all non-marketing dept. employees were supposed to not use company resources for Facebook. The majority of employees just posted via their phones, so it would seem that it doesn't matter what the company's policy is if you use your own technology.

    Coming from a company that handled a lot of client sales data, I can understand why a company may have concerns about individual employee computers used to connect to social media sites. Perhaps the suggestion of some locked down computers in a break room for social media access is on track. Of course, employees using flash drives could steal data and sell/publish data, so maybe worries over Facebook use are the least of a company's problems.