Browsing The Net For Personal Reasons At Work Makes You More Productive?

This study’s conclusions strike me as a bit dubious,

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 (

…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.

My gut instinct is that this study is off, but it’s not impossible that it’s correct.

The assumption people tend to make is that if people aren’t browsing the net, they’ll be working. But, if they’re bored with their job, they may be talking to people at the water cooler, outside taking a smoke break, or just zoning out and staring at the wall

Additionally, some people — scratch that — a lot of people don’t really have 40 hours of work to do. Granted, they may technically have that much on their plate, but how much of it is irrelevant busy work created to make employers feel like they have people working for every hour they’re on the clock — not work that makes a real difference?

PS: That’s not a defense of goofing off at work — although I was known to do some surfing at work in my last job.

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