- The Find: Think employees who surf the web during work hours are slackers? Not at all, claims new research; they're actually about nine percent more productive than those that don't.
- The Source: A study out of the University of Melbourne, via the NY Times' Freakonomics blog.
People who do 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 than those who don't. Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos on YouTube, using social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online under the pretense that it costs millions in lost productivity, however that's not always the case.How could slacking off watching a skate boarding dog on YouTube possibly boost productivity? Coker explains: "People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration.... 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."
Of course, spending long hours online is not going to improve productivity. Coker stresses his conclusions apply only to moderate use and warns that workers with an Internet addiction are a real problem.
The Question: Will you look more kindly on employees caught surfing the net in light of the research?