If You're Reading This at Work, You're Actually Boosting Your Company's Productivity (Until They Fire You)

August 25, 2011

Ever since the Internet became a more effective method of wasting one's time than the Pet Rock, businesses have spent millions installing software and hiring people to monitor their employees' web activity to make sure they aren't paying them to spend a second of their time enjoying videos of kittens wrestling. Now it turns out they may be doing more harm than good.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a new psychology study shows that letting employees do some mild web surfing on the job actually enhances their productivity rather than quashes it.

The study conducted by the National University of Singapore asked a group of undergraduates to complete a very monotonous task and split them into three groups: those who could not deviate from their task, those who could take a break from their task but not look at the Internet, and those who had the freedom to take breaks that included using the Internet. The research found that those who had the freedom to surf the web were more productive and effective at completing the task because being able to access the Internet without any filters reduced their mental exhaustion and boredom and gave them extra energy to complete their initial task.

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