An interesting piece in today’s WaPo reports survey results that people with Internet access at home and office spend more time online at home doing work for their company than they “waste” online doing personal surfing. This may be, although I’m rather dubious of the survey methodology. The more important point, missed completely by the article, is that spending a few minutes here and there throughout the day reading personal e-mails and checking out one’s favorite web sites is a needed break that makes the rest of the day more productive. Most people who spend their whole day in front of a computer are doing complex mental tasks all day. It’s virtually impossible to concentrate solely on work for eight or more hours straight. If they weren’t surfing, they’d be chatting with colleagues around the water cooler or otherwise goofing off. We have to stop trying to measure information age work by the standards of the industrial age; outputs are what matter, not inputs.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.