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Checking your phone at work just makes you more bored, study finds

When you're bored at work, do you aimlessly scroll through your phone? Are you desperately searching for something to energise or inspire you, or just something to temporarily distract you from the boredness?

Bored worker checking phone at work (file) Source: istock.com

By Zoe Madden-Smith

Well, a new Dutch study has found that scrolling through your phone to escape the boredom of work, doesn’t help us at all. It actually could be doing more harm than good.

In the study, 83 participants reported their current level of fatigue and boredom every hour at work while an app continuously logged their smartphone use. The study found people use their smartphones more when they are tired or bored at work, but it doesn't seem to help the boredom at all.

In fact, people report being even more bored and fatigued after using their phones.

The study found that on average people spend 92 seconds each smartphone break, and the number of times someone checks their phone increases the more bored and fatigued they are.

So essentially we get bored, we check our phone, we get more bored and then we go back to work to then get more bored, so then check our phone again.

The study was published in Royal Society Open Science on July 7. The researchers say the results provide “real-life evidence” that taking a short break with a smartphone can have a perpetuating impact on fatigue and disengagement.

While taking regular breaks during a working day is important, it’s worth trying to take breaks without our phones.

So next time you're bored and catch yourself reaching for your phone, try to walk around the office to get a coffee or a glass of water instead. Or pop outside to get some fresh air. You’ll likely come back feeling physically and mentally more energised and ready to work.

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