Screwing Off Increases Productivity!
Firms spend millions and go through a lot to keep their workers from goofing off on the Internet. That may not be such a good idea:
Caught Twittering or on Facebook at work? It’ll make you a better employee, according to an Australian study that shows surfing the Internet for fun during office hours increases productivity.
The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not. Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said “workplace Internet leisure browsing,” or WILB, helped to sharpened workers’ concentration. “People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration,” Coker said on the university’s website (www.unimelb.edu.au/) “Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days’ work, and as a result, increased productivity,” he said.
Since I’ve always simply presumed this to be the case — at least for those whose jobs are primarily intellectual — it’s hard to dub this finding “counterintuitive.” And, it should be stressed, this finding holds true only up to a point.
However, Coker said the study looked at people who browsed in moderation, or were on the Internet for less than 20 percent of their total time in the office. “Those who behave with Internet addiction tendencies will have a lower productivity than those without,” he said.