Study finds workplace Web surfing increases productivity

Image: Keyboard. Credit: DeclanTM/Flickr.

An Australian study has found that workers who engage in Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing (WILB) are more productive than their non-surfing colleagues.

The report, compiled by the University of Melbourne's Department of Management and Marketing, found that 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."

Professor Brent Coker, who led the research, said the reason for the increased work rate was 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."

A short break, such as taking a little time to surf the Internet, "enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a day's work, and as a result, increased productivity."

The study of 300 workers found that 70 percent admitted to surfing the Internet to relax at work. The most popular activities including checking news and information, using social networking services such as Facebook and playing games.

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