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Australian Study Says Web Surfing Boosts Office Productivity

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the it-wasn't-just-the-office-doors dept.

Businesses 173

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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173 comments

Sure (5, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435565)

I'm sure my boss is going to be thrilled since he's looking over my shoulder reading this page as I type comments instead of doing my work.

Re:Sure (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435617)

I'm sure my boss is going to be thrilled since he's looking over my shoulder reading this page as I type comments instead of doing my work.

Switch to surfing porn. It will make him even happier!

Re:Sure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435719)

I'm sure my boss is going to be thrilled since he's looking over my shoulder reading this page as I type comments instead of doing my work.

Switch to surfing porn. It will make him even happier!

Only true if your company develops porn sites.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436297)

Switch to surfing porn.

WILB for MILF?

Re:Sure (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436499)

I was watching some porn on my computer when my boss walked over. He glanced over my shoulder and did a double take. He was incredulous at first. Why would one of my employees be watching porn at work? That's unbelievable!

Yet there I was, watching porn. Not only was I watching porn, I had one hand down my pants playing with my erect penis. I felt extremely horny, very hard. Couldn't help it. My boss looked down at my crotch and saw me fucking my hand.

By this point, I knew he was there, watching me fuck my hand while I watched porn. I glanced back and saw his face; I also saw his own dick getting hard. The moans from my speakers, the naked men and women on my screen, and my own self-jacking had turned him on.

I whispered, coyly, "Don't just stand there, sir, join me." A sly grin grew across his face, just as his own cock grew harder and harder. I could see it throbbing through his pants. He got down on his knees and gently moved his hands up my legs, to my crotch, and slowly, slowly, unzipped my pants. I was more turned on then I have ever been. I wanted to cum so badly. But I knew this would be one day at the office to remember for a long time to cum.

Re:Sure (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437421)

My last boss only got upset if we didn't share the good porn with him.

Re:Sure (5, Insightful)

evilkasper (1292798) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:Sure (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435729)

Everybody who works from home?

Re:Sure (4, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435851)

...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?

I can't say it's exactly 'authorized' but no one stops me when I roll under the desk and take a quick rest. Mostly they laugh.

Re:Sure (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436107)

Now who here has an authorized nap time at work?

Just close the door to your office and lock it. If you're woken by knocking or telephone, you have a moment to gather your composure before opening the door. It works for me!

What? You labour in an open-topped fabric-covered doorless half-height cube? Good god, that's barbaric!

Re:Sure (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436295)

What? You labour in an open-topped fabric-covered doorless half-height cube? Good god, that's barbaric!

Sheer luxury mate. I work in a hole in the road, it's a twenty mile commute on foot in the dark and thirty back. My father fed me stone cold poison and killed me every morning before work.

But can ye get the lads to believe you these days? Noooooo.....

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436375)

Please, define "labour".  There is precious little "labour" or "labor" performed in an office building, with or without office doors.  Perhaps I should post the scientific definition of "work" here.  Some slashdotters actually do "work", in one form or another.  Some of us may resent the allegation that serious "work" is performed in these cubicles.  The only cubicle guy I can think of with a legitimate claim to be "working" is a welder.  Well, maybe the pipefitter who sets things up for the welder...

Monospace sucks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27437241)

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

Re:Sure (2, Informative)

TurboNed (1370389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437193)

What? You labour in an open-topped fabric-covered doorless half-height cube? Good god, that's barbaric!

No, I share one with 3 other people.

and the converse may also be true (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436195)

...and there are studies that say a short nap during the workday make people more productive.

My wife and I work in the same department, and occasionally take a "nap" together in a spare office. Curiously, this seems to reduce the productivity of our colleagues, who often look annoyed after our "nap".

Re:and the converse may also be true (4, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436287)

...and there are studies that say a short nap during the workday make people more productive.

My wife and I work in the same department, and occasionally take a "nap" together in a spare office. Curiously, this seems to reduce the productivity of our colleagues, who often look annoyed after our "nap".

Damn right, we're annoyed. Those "offices" may have real doors, but they only have fabric walls...

Re:and the converse may also be true (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437629)

Wife and I work in same department but were chided because we don't bicker or act like we're married. What's wrong with a cold, joyless relationship?

Re:Sure (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436231)

Now who here has an authorized nap time at work?

I do. That is, I effectively do.

Ok, you want the truth? Nobody knows the difference.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436333)

Spaniards?

Whoops... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435575)

My boss is looking.

Yup... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435577)

I'm increasing my productivity right now!

what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435581)

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

Too busy to be first post (1)

kylben (1008989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435585)

Really boss, I'm just becoming more productive fer ya.

2nd post!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435589)

boosts my productivity!

Sounds like the opposite (1, Informative)

richardellisjr (584919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435597)

Lets see 20% of time surfing gets you 9% more productivity. So anyone surfing for 8% of their time gets a productivity boost, everyone else gets a productivity loss.

Re:Sounds like the opposite (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Sounds like the opposite (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437797)

There are too many variables to apply this to a large company via IT and web filtering. If I see that my sales person was doing fantasy football for 8 hours non stop each day, then I report that to his manager.

If the sales guy is making his sales, then it's "who cares." If he's not, then appropriate actions can be taken.

What about my shop staff or house keeping? They can't possibly be repairing vehicles or cleaning if they are on Fantasy Football 8 hours a day.

Too many variables to say it boosts productivity across the board. Once everyone has iPhones with 3G internet, it no longer is an IT issue. I can't wait.

Re:Sounds like the opposite (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435685)

Net productivity gain was 9% for those who surf less than 20% of the time. So, still an improvement even if they surf > 8% and 20%.

Re:Sounds like the opposite (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436373)

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.

Re:Sounds like the opposite (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436673)

The story about General Groves and the Los Alamos scientists during the Manhattan Project comes right to mind here. He entered a room where they were all standing and sitting about working out equations on a blackboard and went ballistic wanting to know whey weren't "working".

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435603)

Well browsing slashdot does seem to pass the time while I wait for my project to compile.

Obligatory xkcd comic (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435755)

Compiling [xkcd.com] .

In other news.. (5, Funny)

simonbas (1319225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435613)

"Australian researcher's lab shut down by MPAA."

Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (5, Interesting)

siriusdogstar (1151547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435663)

I also promote in-office online banking and other personal business but the company balked when I suggested catered meals would also boost productivity by lowering stress levels caused by having to go out and forage, and the health benefits of not wolfing down food. Another company agreed with me and even hired a masage therapist because they found lowering stress levels among employees caused the biggest spike in productivity.

Re:Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435959)

They did the same thing where I work but went further by adding a free "Happy Ending." The plan backfired as productivity decreased and sleepiness increased. However, absolutely no was was stressed out.

Posting anon because the wife reads slashdot.

Re:Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (3, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436119)

by having to go out and forage,

You do know people can bring their own lunch to work and not have to forage? It saves bundles of money for the person and they know exactly what they're having. This also allows them more time to surf the web at lunch or maybe go out and have a walk around the building or get a quickie around the corner.

I realize this is a simple solution so obviously you're a programmer! (j/k)

Re:Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436337)

What do you think my after work is like?

1. Go home, collapse on the couch like a lethargic slug until my energy from being forced to "sit still" and "pay attention" all day returns.

2. By that time it's late into the evening and I have limited options. So, i'll either forage in the refrigerator, "Dinner tonight, hmm... chocolate milk, toaster strudle and Pillsbury Mozzarella and Pepperoni Savorings..." Occasionally I'll order tacos, pizza or ribs... depending on how slug-like I feel... but Thurdays are useless.

The exception is if I'm seeing my fiance, trekking an hour and a half to her city to eat at Olive Garden and/or getting a hotel room (she has no privacy with her child at home and we are quite noisy), then doing the drive back. (Incidentally, the next day I do bring my lunch... Olive Garden leftovers...)

3. Watch a movie or TV show or play a game on PC, Gamecube or DS until it is late... then sleep

Where in that schedule do you see time to make food to bring to work?

Re:Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (4, Informative)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436471)

I hear sandwiches are pretty easy to make ;-) Seriously though, if you do some research on cooking, you will find 15-20 minute recipes for lunchtime. Of course, if you don't know how to cook, it might take you a while to get up to speed. Some of my recomendations though are: energy bars, left over spaghetti w/ sauce, imported ramen (actually has some nutritional value sometimes), hard boiled eggs, veges w/ dip, chips, juice boxes/soda cans, hummus, leftover meat left in a marinade overnight. You can get a slow cooker and have rice/beans ready for you in the morning to take to work. If you want to be a little more creative you could take a look over at Just Bento [justbento.com] for recipes. If you enjoy food, investing time in learning to prepare what you like can be massively rewarding!

Re:Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436685)

I might be talking out of my ass here, but the most intellectually productive worker segment (single young heterosexual males) never pack their own lunches.

As a business you are really better off doing what the casinos already do: insulate your cash cows from the "real" world by free catered meals, artificial lighting, on-campus recreation facilities, etc.

Re:Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (2, Interesting)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436823)

I've done both. Believe me, the people who get stressed out by "foraging" will get at least twice as stressed out trying to find time to throw together lunch to take along. Sure it's no big deal for the morning people who get up an hour before they need to, but for the night-owl types, there is never a good time to pack a lunch.

The only time I pack a lunch is when I'm *really* short on funds. Most of the time I'd rather pay 4x as much and eat unhealthy food that I can pick up over lunch.

Re:Hurray! I've been saying this for years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436293)

even hired a masage therapist because they found lowering stress levels among employees caused the biggest spike in productivity

I, for one, can vouch that a 20-minute session with a young female masseuse in a skimpy outfit can do wonders for releasing pent-up tension and increasing productivity. I, for one, will welcome our new young-female-masseuse-in-a-skimpy-outfit overlords.

I believe it (4, Interesting)

piojo (995934) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435667)

I bet a little web surfing keeps one from getting "too bored". A recent article in the same vein said that doodling helps people pay attention--I don't recall whether that one made slashdot.

Re:I believe it (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435793)

It did.

Re:I believe it (3, Interesting)

DutchSter (150891) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436843)

I wonder how much the 'browsing the Internet' bit really matters. As others have pointed out, there have been other studies that promote the benefits of massages, naps, etc. Seems to me the common denominator is taking a break at natural intervals. I spend enough time at the keyboard during the day that my Internet usage is really minimal (no, seriously!). On the other hand, if you walk in my office you're always going to find the Wall Street Journal opened up to some article on the side of my desk. I will periodically peek over and read for a few minutes after finishing a task while waiting to start the next one, such as the five minute lull at the start of conference calls where the host keeps saying "Let's give the others a few more minutes to join..." An aside - I start my conference calls on time. After a year, even my boss was trained to be no more than 30 seconds late.

In terms of workload, I consistently fall into the 'exceeds expectations' category when it comes time to figure out year-end ratings. Yet I also keep a fairly regular schedule. I'm not in the office 12 hours a day like the guys across the hall who consider it a badge of honor to eat lunch AND dinner at work yet bitch when their reviews keep coming back as 'meets expectations.' And yes, we more or less have the same job duties.

Surfing during work? (3, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435675)

Hmm... gotta get back, done compiling.

Re:Surfing during work? (1)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435907)

This isn't twitter, nobody cares.

Wait, maybe that makes it just like twitter.

Re:Surfing during work? (5, Funny)

Curate (783077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436723)

You might want to compile again, just to be sure.

Another aspect... (4, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Another aspect... (3, Interesting)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436917)

When I first graduated and got my first job, during down times I would read up on multi-threading and database optimizations because it was interesting. As new projects have come up, I have applied what I learned to make some code go from minutes to seconds with correct results.

Many times I get stuck on something and I just open up my favorite game forum and veg for 2-3 minutes. It's enough time to usually come back and view my problem a-new and figure it out.

Re:Another aspect... (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437165)

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.

All joking aside, I've gotten a lot of that out of Slashdot. I've rolled out quite a few technologies at work that I might not have heard of were it not for people here arguing about which implementation was best.

On the intangible side, there's much to be said for practicing making your points clearly and succinctly, and for learning to anticipate counter-arguments and answer them before anyone else brings them up. Debate team has nothing on a good language war.

Re: (5, Funny)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435723)

I am going to print that article and put it on the wall next to my desk so that next time I don't have to use the "code is compiling" excuse.

20% is reasonable? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:20% is reasonable? (3, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:20% is reasonable? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436097)

Not everyone is on a timeclock.

Re:20% is reasonable? (5, Interesting)

oneTheory (1194569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436311)

Yeah, but most people are. And what I've seen at all the 7+ companies i've work for is pretty much right out of Office Space: people only working just hard enough to not get fired.

It seems the corporate system is designed this way though. At most companies I've been paid a straight salary with no overtime and either no bonus or a possible 5% bonus based on how well I've been able to project a productive air to my manager.

So where's the incentive to work harder? When we kick ass and do well as a company, I rarely see an extra cent. When we do poorly as a company I still get paid exactly the same. True I have the possibility of getting laid off but everyone faces the same possibility and generally the axe doesn't fall on me because I do a perfectly OK job. I'd love to be encouraged to work harder with profit sharing or the like but few companies do this.

It seems there are much better models to encourage productivity and I have no idea why most companies don't adopt them.

Re:20% is reasonable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436203)

Some are people are paid to simply be there for _if_ and _when_ something comes up, not necessarily constantly doing something.

Its the whole service versus results oriented system.

Re:20% is reasonable? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:20% is reasonable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436459)

...you're company...

No, I am not company.

Re:20% is reasonable? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27437555)

When you are visiting, you are company!

Ciggy Break (4, Insightful)

biocute (936687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435745)

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

Re:Ciggy Break (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435859)

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

I smoke, have a caffeine addiction, love to gossip, play games, AND surf the internet, you insensitive clod!

I spend just under 20% of my billable time each day on each activity... I work about 20 minutes a day, just enough time to make sure the lackeys are doing my work for me.

What? Isn't that the American dream?

Re:Ciggy Break (3, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436697)

I spend just under 20% of my billable time each day on each activity..

According to this study, that makes you about 63% more productive than other office workers, NICE JOB!!

Re:Ciggy Break (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437095)

According to this study, that makes you about 63% more productive than other office workers, NICE JOB!!

My math shows 54% more productive (1.09^5).

Not only am I more productive, apparently I am more accurate too :)

Re:Ciggy Break (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436263)

I like the idea of a cigarette break, even though I don't smoke. It's pretty social. Parents tell you when you go to school not to give in to peer pressure and hang out with the cool smoking kids during break, but the older I get, the less I think that that kind of advice makes sense. Only by the time I was halfway university, I started figuring out how to enjoy life a bit, instead of just studying. Missed a part there! Hang around with the cool smoking kids! Drink beer! Try weed! Have sex before marriage!

Ironic (3, Funny)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435787)

I'm sure it is for just about everyone reading this.

Late April Fools? (0)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435789)

I'm SOOOOO glad this didn't come out yesterday.

Do these effects..... (3, Funny)

8127972 (73495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435809)

.... also include surfing for pron?

25%? (4, Interesting)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436067)

Some source was quoted in the Newsweek I was reading the other day as saying that 25% of people view internet porn at work.

(This surprised me. Slashdot? Sure. Wikipedia? Definitely. Porn? That's just stupid.)

One of those Zen moments ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436267)

the sound of one hand fapping!

Counter-arguments (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435825)

I don't know. xkcd.com [xkcd.com] disagrees.

Bludging? (2, Informative)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435841)

The title of TFA is:

Workplace web bludging 'good for productivity'

allwords.com [allwords.com] tells me that "to bludge" is to avoid responsibility. What a great word. Is it used outside Australia?

what, no correlationisnotcausation tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435847)

I'm much more inclined to believe that the people who have above-average productivity can afford to spend up to 20% of their days surfing the internet.

Re:what, no correlationisnotcausation tag? (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436147)

Yes, it does seem to be a tag productivity issue. I'd address it myself, but it's late and I'm calling it a day.

Productivity personified (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435867)

I am so asking for a raise.

Dongs vs. Schlongs (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27435887)

Which would you rather have, a dong or a schlong?

I'm not goofing off (1)

Peter Blood (1489597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435893)

I'm just here to boost my productivity.

More studies needed (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435927)

We need to commission studies that look at increases in productivity for the following activities during work time:

1) Games and gaming at work
2) Consumption of alcohol at work
3) Coming to work in casual clothes - the more casual the better - think underwear and curry stained shirt
4) Workplace sex

Re:More studies needed (3, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435957)

3) Coming to work in casual clothes - the more casual the better - think underwear and curry stained shirt

Sure, your productivity may improve -- but what abot everyone else in the office who is too busy cleaning vomit out of their keyboards to get work done?

Re:More studies needed (3, Funny)

Ed_Pinkley (881113) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436449)

3) Coming to work in casual clothes - the more casual the better - think underwear and curry stained shirt

Sure, your productivity may improve -- but what abot everyone else in the office who is too busy cleaning vomit out of their keyboards to get work done?

4) Workplace sex

Ditto.

Re:More studies needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27437269)

Since I work close to home, I sometimes take the chance to go home and play a bit of Team Fortress 2 during my lunch hour. I get to release some stress and I gain my focus back.

Light gaming during a lunch hour is beneficial IMO.

where's the correlationisnotcausation tag? (5, Insightful)

djrabbit (1522869) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:where's the correlationisnotcausation tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27436417)

Generally, nonproductive people are the ones that get distracted easily and need frequent breaks, while productive people can focus on their task for longer periods of time.

Re:where's the correlationisnotcausation tag? (5, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436567)

Exactly what I was going to say...

Seems that when a study slashdotters don't agree with (video games "boost" teen violence), we get a huge amount of "correlation != causation" posts and tags. When it's a study that slashdotters agree with or like (visiting slashdot during work improves your performance; don't feel guilty!), we're a little bit more lax on the fact that it's just as guilty of faulty logic, typical statistics, etc...

I'm sure I'm pointing out the obvious, but seems not many others have yet, so :)

Re:where's the correlationisnotcausation tag? (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436987)

Seems that when a study slashdotters don't agree with (video games "boost" teen violence), we get a huge amount of "correlation != causation" posts and tags. When it's a study that slashdotters agree with or like (visiting slashdot during work improves your performance; don't feel guilty!), we're a little bit more lax on the fact that it's just as guilty of faulty logic, typical statistics, etc...

Damnit I don't care how bogus the statistics are! If it justifies what I do at work all day anyway, I'm gonna take it as gospel proof until my boss comes back with a refutation in Science.

Good to Know (2, Funny)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435961)

that I'm helping to get my work done right now!

20% == 1 day per week (2, Interesting)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435967)

If you work a 40 hour week. 20% a day would come out to 8 hours a week, or a whole day.

Does that mean I would still be more productive if I worked hard 4 days a week, then spent all of my Friday reading slasdot and playing games?

Re:20% == 1 day per week (2, Interesting)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436403)

100% identical! +1

It's similar to eating a week's worth of food in 1 day and not eating for the other 6 days...

I don't approve of WILB. (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435971)

I would rather call it Workplace Internet Browsing for Leisure, otherwise known as WIBL.

"Hey Tony, I need you to collate those TPS reports."
"Yeah sure boss. Right after I get done wibbling a bit."

Happy = Productive (3, Interesting)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27435973)

I think this should be filed under the general maxim that happier workers are, generally, more productive workers.

Plus, so many jobs now expect you to be working to some extent while you're at home (checking email, etc). If an employer wants an employee to work while at home, then it's reasonable for the employee to do some personal web surfing at work.

Re:Happy = Productive (1)

escay (923320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437577)

I think this should be filed under the general maxim that happier workers are, generally, more productive workers.

I think the current maxim is that the more scared workers are, generally, the more productive workers. Nothing more motivational than lax job security.

Another possible conclusion: (5, Interesting)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436127)

Perhaps people who browse the web at work are _more comfortable with_ and _more knowledgeable about_ computers in general, than people who don't browse the internet at work. I've seen many users who are clueless about computers wasting time by using their computers badly, unproductively, or not at all.

If you can't use a spreadsheet, chances are you don't 'get' the internet. I'm wondering if perhaps the study is drawing the wrong conclusion. Perhaps internet browsing isn't the 'cure', but a healthy symptom indicating a better affinity to computers.

Amen! (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436327)

If I find another person using a calculator and "plugging in" the answers in Excel I don't know what I will do!

Logfile integrity (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436155)

Does this mean I can stop fiddling with the log files now?

Correlation != causation (4, Interesting)

Rix (54095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436283)

I would suggest that rather than websurfing increasing productivity, people tend to leave authoritarian employers who disallow websurving, productive people having more ability to move.

CorrelationIsNotCausation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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...

personal project time (4, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436415)

'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.

I had a boss that would have balked at the 20% figure. He believed (and told us as much) that you were wasting company time and money if you were anything less than 100% engaged in your work. He was, however, always interested in boosting productivity any way possible, so when someone brought up Google's "personal project time" policy (Google was the rockstar of the Internet then, even moreso than now), he wanted to try it. Once we started seriously discussing it, though, the boss killed the idea by proclaiming that the personal project time would be in addition to, not replacing your normal 8-hour day. That means you either had to come in early, stay late, or come in on a weekend. And it wouldn't count as overtime either. That pretty much killed all interest.

(Posting this at work, from my new job.)

Too busy to work (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27436653)

All the surfing breaks, coffee breaks, ciggy breaks, comfort breaks and lunch don't leave much time to actually achieve anything. Though it's good to know that if I did have time, I'd be so much more effective.

Anyway, gotta go, it's nearly time for another break.

The news is one day late. (1)

Trieuvan (789695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437565)

Today is April 2nd!

Use Rescuetime.com to keep you on track (1)

gbrayut (715117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27437663)

I started using the free time management software from RescueTime.com [rescuetime.com] a few months ago and have found that it helps keep me from venturing too far off track during the work day. I had previously been using a small app built by the Software Jedi [anappaday.com] (my hero! I still use it for making my time cards [theg2.net] ), but it is buggy and lacks any real analysis features (still not bad for being built in one day).

I was planning on building a bunch of macros and pivot tables in Excel for it when I ran across RescueTime, which is free for personal use and actively being developed. It keeps track of all the websites and applications you use on your computer and sends this data to their servers to let you tag each item as productive or not-productive. From all this tagging you get a bunch of pretty pictures saying how much time you spend working and how much you waste reading web comics or Slashdot. They even have a flash widget you can add to a blog. Haven't tried the Team edition yet, but it has definitely helped me keep from wasting too much time.

Reminded of The Office (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

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