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Surfing the web at work increases your productivity

Posted by: Aili McConnon on April 3, 2009

Worried about being caught on Facebook while at work? Surfing the web actually increases productivity according to a new study from the University of Melbourne.

Dr. Brent Coker studied 300 workers and found that people who took time between tasks to shop online, play online games or watch videos on YouTube were 9% more productive in a given day than their colleagues who did not. People benefit from getting rewards after they complete mini-tasks. “It gives them a chance to reset their concentration,” says Coker in an interview about the study on the University of Melbourne’s web site.

So companies that block or track employees use of social networking sites like MySpace may be inadvertently decreasing their productivity. The study also underscores a point that Penelope Trunk, a millenial consultant and author of an interesting blog The Brazen Careerist, made about managing Gen Ys at a recent conference I attended. While more seasoned employees may grumble about younger colleagues who spend office time writing instant messages or twittering, those millenials are often more productive than their elders who steer clear of such distractions.

In fact, this blog post illustrates the results of Dr. Coker’s study: I came across it while surfing the web as I took a mini-break from writing a story I owed one of my editors.

So what sites do you go to when you need a time-out and you’ve already taken too many coffee breaks?

Reader Comments

David Bookman

April 4, 2009 5:18 AM

Surfing the net while working is proving useful in gaining good production and also increasing the concentration level some how.

Teoh Yi Chie

April 5, 2009 5:45 AM

Why did I laugh when I read this article? Is it because I'm posting this comment from work?


April 6, 2009 10:06 AM

These are good points, especially about the Generation Y folks. Wonder if it's as productive for GenXers or Boomers?


October 2, 2009 5:38 PM

well at least now I dont feel so bad about it.

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