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Matt Henkes



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People and their screensavers


New research suggests that looking at certain screensavers can spare professionals the ill effects of workplace stress and make them more productive.

The study found that people who had scenic scenes on their computers were able to reduce their stress levels by up to 30%. However, there are fundamental flaws in the notion that having the right screensaver can boost productivity, as one indignant colleague pointed out.

"If I ever see my screensaver it’s because I’m returning from a meeting and have sat down to unlock it before continuing with my work," he fumed. "I’d have to fall asleep at my keyboard for it to appear in front of me." Perhaps, with that in mind, screensavers should come equipped with wake-up alarms.

What do you use to keep your screen safe? We want you to know what kind of screensaver you use, tell us underneath this article, or email them to [email protected]. They’ll be independently judged and the best one will win a prize, details of which can be found below.

Your screensaver can tell a lot about the sort of person you are, so we’ve categorised some of the various types:

The scenic shot
Many people use a picturesque landscape of the Norwegian ice fjords, the Swiss Alps or Arizona desert. But does staring out at a beautiful foreign setting from the confines of an office smack somewhat of masochism? According to the research, apparently not.

Family values
As one sales executive pointed out, what can be more inspirational than catching a glimpse of your young daughter to remind you why you slog your guts out day after day? Alternatively, an image of the nagging mother in-law can be great motivation for putting in those long evening hours.


The default Windows
Some people find it difficult to get into the spirit of screensavery. You will never see these people with a plant on their desk or tinsel around their computer at Christmas time. Their screensaver is merely a functional tool to prolong the life of their monitor.

Cute animals
They’re fluffy and cuddly, and they make you feel all warm inside. How can work ever get on top of you when every time you return to your desk, a doe-eyed little bunny rabbit is staring back at you?

Seasonal Foliage
Leaves, flowers, lilies and anything green can transport you away from your desk and into some exotic botanical garden. You’ll often see artistic depictions of varying seasonal persuasion, wintery scenes or golden autumny vistas. Very popular with green-fingered individuals, and hippies.

Marquee message
The marquee and its many guises can deliver a stylish, witty or offensive message to anyone walking past your desk. It can even provide an ego boost by deluding you into thinking that your computer really does think you’re ‘FAB’. Alternatively, the classic ‘get the hell out of my office’ is always a winner.

What’s your screensaver of choice and why? It doesn’t matter whether it fits into these categories or not. Leave a comment below or email your screensavers to: [email protected] by Friday 10 July.

For the winner, we’ve got a copy of Chris Lauer’s The Management Gurus. It’s a summary of 15 of the most influential management books ever to be published. Good luck!

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Matt Henkes


Read more from Matt Henkes

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