DUBLIN, May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Banning personal internet use in the workplace could cost British businesses up to GBP4 billion every year* due to a resulting decline in staff productivity. That's according to a report, published today by PopCap.com that unveils research that indicates 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. The research shows that far from distracting employees from their work, e-breaks actually serve to increase staff efficiency and morale, benefitting UK businesses.

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.

The report ranks different types of office e-breaks according to their positive impact on productivity levels. Dr Chamorro-Premuzic rated the top five types of e-breaks according to their benefits:

1) Puzzle and 'casual' computer games

The report reveals that ten minutes playing online games had the most positive benefits for employees (and therefore, employers!) They were particularly beneficial for stressed out, nervous and anxious workers. This finding supports recent research which shows that 'casual' videogames and online puzzles like the ones found on PopCap.com, can have calming effects on individuals. These type of games help to improve mental agility and boost confidence - creating a calmer, happier workforce.

2) Social Networking & personal emails

Research suggests that 'interpersonal e-breaks' have the most positive impact on workers who are self-assured and content in their role.

3) Online shopping

Online retail therapy is an effective 'quick fix' strategy to boost happiness levels in the workplace.

4) General browsing

Although this form of relaxed internet surfing may appear to have no specific goals, the research shows that it fulfils individuals need for cognition, caters to their intellectual curiosity and stimulates their thirst for knowledge - ultimately bolstering general knowledge acquisition - of benefit to bosses.

5) Life Admin (e.g. online banking, booking doctor's appointments etc)

This break is best suited to female employees, with the research tracking a greater improvement in their productivity levels than their male counterparts. Life admin is extrinsically linked to work performance in that it frees up the mind from administrative concerns as well as freeing up time after work.

Dr Chamorro-Premuzic commented: "With work days becoming increasingly longer and workloads more demanding, UK bosses are introducing internet bans to help combat alleged productivity loss and inappropriate use of workplace resources. Yet bosses are missing a trick by introducing e-bans. The PopCap Break Report has revealed that allowing workers more freedom at the PC, can benefit the worker's morale levels, effectively boosting companies' profits."

In light of today's report, PopCap invites employees to anonymously lobby their employer at http://www.popcapbreak.com to introduce a ten minute e-break in their office.

Notes to Editors

*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)

***The PopCap Break Report measured the impact on productivity of a variety of e-breaks including; life admin, casual gaming and social networking

Calculation of the GBP4 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.

About PopCap

PopCap Games (http://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(R), 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.

The PopCap logo and all other trademarks used herein that are listed at http://www.popcap.com/trademarks are owned by PopCap Games, Inc. or its licensors and may be registered in some countries. Other company and product names used herein may be trademarks of their respective owners and are used for the benefit of those owners.

For more informaton, please contact: Cathy Orr, European PR Director, PopCap Games corr@popcap.com or +353-87-225-6488

For more informaton, please contact: Cathy Orr, European PR Director, PopCap Games, corr@popcap.com, or +353-87-225-6488