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Australian Study Says Web Surfing Boosts Office Productivity 173

Posted by timothy
from the it-wasn't-just-the-office-doors dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Dr Brent Coker, professor of Department of Management and Marketing at Melbourne University, says employees who surf the internet for leisure during working hours are more productive than those who don't. A study of 300 office workers found 70 percent of people who use the internet at work engage in Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing (WILB). 'People who do surf the internet for fun at work — within a reasonable limit of less than 20 per cent of their total time in the office — are more productive by about nine per cent than those who don't,' said Coker. '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. It's the same in the workplace.' However, Coker warns that excessive time spent surfing the internet could have the reverse effect."
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Australian Study Says Web Surfing Boosts Office Productivity

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  • what? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:52PM (#27435581)

    I can't read this story. there is an ad in my way.

  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:57PM (#27435645)
    No, you misunderstand what they're saying. They're talking about the amount of work which is accomplished, not how long you're working. So, they're saying those who never surf do x amount of work. However, those who surf for 20% of their day (or less) do 1.09*x work. Even though they spend less time working, they get more done, thus they're more productive
  • Re:Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilkasper (1292798) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:00PM (#27435689)
    ...and there are studies that say a short nap during the workday make people more productive. Now who here has an authorized nap time at work?
  • Another aspect... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:02PM (#27435721)

    Depending on what the employee is viewing, it is also an opportunity to LEARN something.

    My wife regularly surfs the web at work, often news, and consistently finds stories that directly effect the industry she works in, sometimes her actual place of employment. She then brings this information to the people she works for, the people that need to know about it.

  • 20% is reasonable? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:04PM (#27435743)

    They just said that 20% of your paid time, doing something other than what they are paying you to do, is reasonable? Would a company paying you 20% less all of the sudden be reasonable? If you are getting paid, STFU and get the work done. If there's no work to do, clock out and go home.

  • Ciggy Break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by biocute (936687) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:04PM (#27435745) Homepage

    If taking a cigarette break, coffee break or gossip break is allowed, I cannot see any difference in internet break or game break.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:13PM (#27435867) Homepage Journal

    I am so asking for a raise.

  • by djrabbit (1522869) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:20PM (#27435955)
    I'm much more inclined to believe that people with above-average productivity can afford to spend up to 20% of their time surfing the internet.
  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:25PM (#27436021)

    They just said that 20% of your paid time, doing something other than what they are paying you to do, is reasonable? Would a company paying you 20% less all of the sudden be reasonable? If you are getting paid, STFU and get the work done. If there's no work to do, clock out and go home.

    Well according to this study, the people who offend you so much get more done than the people who don't.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:45PM (#27436279)

    Ah, so you're company pays you to sit at your desk for 40 hours a week? Or does your company pay you to get a weeks worth of work done in a week?

    If you're being logical about it, working for 32 hours and getting 44 hours of work done is still better than working 40 hours and getting 40 hours of work done; which is what the article is saying. One of the biggest problems I have with the world in general is people doing what seems right instead of applying logic to the situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:49PM (#27436321)

    It may be that bright-minded, sharp, intelligent, high mental-energy, people are already prone to being more productive, and that searching for ideas and information is just part of their wiring. Of course the information and stimulation help feed the process. OK, back to work...

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:52PM (#27436373) Homepage

    Knowledge work is entirely different from manufacturing type work. The relationship between actual production and hours-spent is very weak. We aren't screwing on hubcaps; we have to coax the glob of meat between our ears to cooperate.

    Where I work, there are managers who (incompetently) think knowledge workers should be managed like factory workers. These chumps have extremely high turnover, and their employees seem defensive and stressed most of the time. One such manager constantly monitors his employee's internet usage, and fires all of those who visit non-work-related web sites.

    If you have an incompetent manager who thinks he's running a factory, browse anyway. You really should be happy if you get fired for moderate web use, because you will be miserable trying to build a career under such a buffoon, anyway.

  • Monospace sucks (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @05:57PM (#27437241)

    Why did you post in a monospace font? What the fuck is wrong with you?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:34PM (#27437677)

    From Michael Scott, "Jim Halpert. Pros. Smart, cool, good looking. Remind you of anyone you know? Cons. Not a hard worker. I can spend all day on a project and he can finish the same project in a half an hour. So that should tell you something."

    Anecdotally, I am more inclined to believe that people who are more productive can slack off more. At my previous job, I would often do more work than my colleague and still found plenty of time to slack off, because I knew how to do the work quickly and correctly. He meanwhile, would be busy all day, and was doing less work than I.

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:32PM (#27439087)
    By his match the productivity gain doesn't outweigh the loss.
  • by GradiusCVK (1017360) <originalcvkNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:35PM (#27440657)
    That brings up an interesting possibility; ignoring the obvious correlation != causation issue here, consider this possible reason why surfing the web at work might make people slightly more productive overall: whether you work for 40 of your 40 hours or 32 of your 40 hours, you'll only do enough to not get fired. Perhaps people who browse the web 20% of the time have more cause for concern about their productivity not being "just enough", so they overcompensate and actually work harder?
  • by castironpigeon (1056188) on Friday April 03, 2009 @08:45AM (#27443385)
    Companies don't pay for 40 hours of your work, they pay for 40 hours of your presence. Your boss can easily measure how long you've been at work, but not how productive you've been, so that's the metric used.

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