A new report published today reveals that the current trend towards banning personal internet use in the workplace could be costing British businesses up to £4 billion every year due to a resulting decline in staff productivity. The report by PopCap Games, proves that, far from distracting employees from their work, taking a 10-minute online break during the course of the working day serves to reduce stress while sharpening and refocusing the mind.
With seven out of ten companies - including Credit Suisse and British Gas - banning access to social networking sites and many considering banning personal internet access altogether, The PopCap Break Report 2008 highlights the negative impact this could have on the UK economy. In fact research shows that a ban on e-breaks could actually serve to reduce staff efficiency and morale.
The rise in popular social networking, news, dating, gaming and shopping sites has resulted in 57% of workers shunning the traditional tea-break in favour of an office e-break in a bid to unwind during the 9-5. However, whilst taking five minutes out to make a cuppa is an accepted ritual in the work place, snatching five minutes online is frowned upon and 71% of employees admit to sneaking online while their boss isn’t looking. Furthermore 47% of employees surveyed felt that taking a five minute cigarette break during work hours was deemed more acceptable by their boss than spending time surfing online.
The findings are based on psychometric trials carried out on a cross section of UK businesses under the supervision of Goldsmiths University psychologist, Dr Chamorro-Premuzic. The comparative effect of different types of online breaks on employees’ performances were tested and the results revealed that if bosses actively encouraged employees to take one ten minute e-break in the working day their overall productivity levels would increase.
“Tea-breaks and fag breaks have long been the most common types of break within office culture but the report shows that e-breaks are fast becoming the most popular choice of break for British workers”, commented Dr Chamorro-Premuzic “The report proves that a ten minute e-break a day can have significant benefits but, despite this, many bosses are banning them in the fear that they distract employees. By factoring in a dedicated slot for an e-break bosses are fostering a more trusting working environment, boosting productivity and ultimately increasing their profit which surely makes good business sense.”
In light of these findings PopCap is campaigning employers to introduce a ten minute e-break into their employees’ working days. Employees who wish to anonymously lobby their bosses to establish an e-break into their office should visit www.popcapbreak.com
NOTES TO EDITOR
Calculation of the £4 billion figure
Calculated using the 2008 UK turnover figures for services & highly skilled jobs and the recorded productivity increase identified in the experimental research for the PopCap Break Report.
PopCap Games (www.popcap.com) is the leading multi-platform provider of “casual games” — fun, easy-to-learn, captivating computer games that appeal to everyone from age 6 to 106. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of over 180 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, B.C. and Dublin. Its games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship title, Bejeweled®, has sold more than 10 million units across all platforms. Constantly acclaimed by consumers and critics, PopCap’s games are played on the Web, desktop computers, myriad mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, iPod and more), popular game consoles (such as Xbox), and in-flight entertainment systems. PopCap is the only casual games developer with leading market share across all major sales channels, including Web portals, retail stores, mobile operators and developers, and game device manufacturers.
 Based on findings of trials carried out on a cross section of UK businesses- Dr Chamorro- Premuzic, Goldsmiths University 2008 (See notes to editor)
 Based upon research conducted by employment law firm, Peninsula (April 2008)
 Based on Tickbox survey of a nationally representative sample of 1720 (September 2007)
 The PopCap Break Report measured the impact on productivity of a variety of e-breaks including; life admin, casual gaming and social networking
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Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is a rising star of psychology and world-wide expert in personality, intelligence and psychometrics. He is a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, a Research Fellow at UCL, and a Visiting Professor at NYU-London, and has previously taught at the London School of Economics.
Despite his young age (and completing his PhD only 4 years ago), Dr Tomas has already published more than 50 scientific articles and 4 authored books, covering a wide range of social and applied topics such as human intelligence and genius, human performance, musical preferences, creativity, and leadership, and frequently appears in the media (especially UK TV) to provide psychological expertise on these issues. Dr Tomas is also active as a consultant and has worked with various leading companies, such as the BBC, MTV, Yahoo Music, Sky, Unilever, Sony, HSBC and Endemol. Dr Tomas was born in Buenos Aires and has lived in London for the past eight years.