Freedom to Surf: Workers More Productive if Allowed ‘Leisure browsing’
A study conducted in Australia found that people who engage in “Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing” (WILB) are more productive than those who don’t. Workers who “surf the Internet for fun at work–within a reasonable limit of less than 20 percent of their total time in the office–are more productive by about 9 percent,” according to the study’s author, Professor Brent Coker, from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Management and Marketing.
The reason that “WILB” increases productivity, he said, is that “people need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration. Think back to when you were in class listening to a lecture–after about 20 minutes your concentration probably went right down, yet after a break your concentration was restored.”
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But this doesn’t apply to everyone. Approximately 14 percent of the sample showed signs of Internet addiction and, for them, Web surfing can decrease productivity. The more they surfed at work, the less productive they were. The reason for this, he said, “is because of an ‘urge’ to search the Internet. “Those that aren’t addicted, don’t have this urge and they surf the Internet as a reward.”
Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice