Browsing Boosts Office Productivity

Study finds workers who surf are more efficient

The next time your boss catches you surfing the Web instead of doing work, you can say in your defense that browsing is boosting your productivity. A new study reveals that compared to working straight through or to other activities like responding to personal emails, Web browsing rejuvenates workers.

The study, entitled "Impact of Cyberloafing on Psychological Engagement" out of the National University of Singapore observed the productivity of almost 100 undergraduate management students. A third of the group was made to work straight through their tasks, whereas another third was given 10 minutes of break time to do anything but surf the Web. The final third was allowed to use their break time to browse online.

The results found that the subjects from the group that were given browsing time reported less instance of exhaustion and boredom, while also proving to be more effective in executing tasks. Similar results were found with a larger sample size of adults. Researchers propose that browsing is positively correlated to productivity because it allows workers to choose to do things they like in the brief down time, unlike writing emails or text messaging that are more mentally demanding. The research team suggests that managers be wary of overly cracking down on in-office browsing time, as the practice could subconsciously be boosting office morale and efficiency.

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