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Web Surfing At Work Can Boost Productivity

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the you're-welcome dept.

The Internet 134

An anonymous reader writes "The Wall Street Journal reports on a study into productivity and efficiency in the workplace, which found that people who are given a break to surf the web return to their work with 'lower levels of mental exhaustion, boredom and higher levels of engagement.' Researchers tested against two other groups; one continued working, and one was given a break that did not involve web browsing. They concluded that 'browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function.' In contrast, dealing with personal email was 'particularly distracting.' In the end, the researchers recommended that employers loosen restrictions on employee web access." This backs up a similar study out of Australia from a couple years ago.

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134 comments

This just in (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168262)

no shit

Re:This just in (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168274)

ok I have no idea how this ended up HERE, 2 tabs open, a script error, invalid resource and plop wrong article

fucking weird

Re:This just in (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168918)

While you may have posted on the wrong thread, your comment really does stand. I mean seriously, what person who works in a job requiring intelligent thought doesn't know this? It never ceases to amaze me how many managers do not get this and spend all their time telling their staff not to surf the web, but instead get the product out faster, as if the two are mutually exclusive.

Re:This just in (1)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169068)

Yes, and you don't treat your employees like children. Just leave them alone and the good ones will get their work done. The ones that aren't productive, are the ones you need to deal with. Get rid of them if they don't respond to a friendly reminder. Never mind penalizing everyone with rules because a few can't handle responsibility. If people have to be repeatedly told that they are supposed to get work done on company time, what the fuck good are they?

Re:This just in (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169384)

Yeah. [ted.com]

Re:This just in (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169400)

And this. [youtube.com]

I think we all know this... (4, Insightful)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168264)

That's why we're here. At least, those of us who aren't independently wealthy or basement-dwelling leaches. :)

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168284)

LeEches. Dammit.

Re:I think we all know this... (3, Funny)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168366)

LeEches. Dammit.

Is that French for "the Eches"?

Re:I think we all know this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37170010)

LesEches. Dammit.

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

mdf356 (774923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169106)

Dammit, now there's another 'e' for me to highlight.

Re:I think we all know this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168466)

Those of you experiencing the luxury of employment.

Re:I think we all know this... (5, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168500)

Yeah, we've been over this already. Just because I have 8 hours to spend at the office, doesn't mean I have 8 hours of focus to contribute.

I have more like 4 or 5 hours of focus, slightly less if I've had to sit in traffic on the way in. The remaining hours are for my inbox, lunch, surfing, defragging VMs, and so on. No matter how many different spins the "corporate efficiency experts" put on it, I only have 4 or 5 hours of focus per day. They should stop worrying what I do with the remaining time, there's nothing valuable there to be had.

I think the Europeans know this, and so I've come to realize that their 35-hour work week makes sense. I didn't always feel this way. For most of my 20s I railed against it in libertarian rage. Now I see that there is no point in asking humans to sit at the office more than 7 hours a day. It's just a waste of their leisure time, which would be better spent at home.

Re:I think we all know this... (3, Informative)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168846)

Having had "physical labor" jobs and "thinking" jobs I find I need much more breaks when doing "thinking" jobs. I also require more sleep. Back in the days of physical labor I could work 12-14 hour days, get 4-5 hours of sleep and be back on my feet no problem. I'm capable of having 10-12 hour days doing work that requires a lot of mental focus but that's not something I can sustain for more than about a week. And after that I need a bit of a recovery period before I'm back to normal.

Re:I think we all know this... (2)

sorak (246725) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169540)

Having had "physical labor" jobs and "thinking" jobs I find I need much more breaks when doing "thinking" jobs. I also require more sleep. Back in the days of physical labor I could work 12-14 hour days, get 4-5 hours of sleep and be back on my feet no problem. I'm capable of having 10-12 hour days doing work that requires a lot of mental focus but that's not something I can sustain for more than about a week. And after that I need a bit of a recovery period before I'm back to normal.

Is that the nature of the job, or because you were younger then?

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169942)

Maybe a bit of both. Physical activity helps improve quality of sleep.

Plus when I did this sort of labor it involved a lot of sleeping on the job. Ie, eyes open, hands moving, burgers flipping, boxes getting filled, but brain is mostly asleep.

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170050)

It's a function of human nature. It is well documented (or so I'm led to believe) that physical exercise leaves a person feeling better (boosted endorphins, etc, etc.) It is also well documented (again, so I'm led to believe) that the more physically fatigued you are when you finally bed down for the night, the deeper and more restful your sleep. Now, pulling 12-14 hour days with only 4-5 hours of sleep sounds like a young man's game, but studies have shown (this one I'm certain of, but I can't find sources here at work) that humans actually require less sleep as we get older. So I could certainly see someone in their 50s working construction for 10-12 hours a day (provided they were still reasonably physically fit), getting 5-6 hours of sleep at night, and still keeping up with the 'youngsters' just fine. Younger people are just more resilient in the face of stress it seems, and so fare well in jobs such as those.

The thing about any job is that it requires attention. Attention to ensure that you are doing a sufficient job to not get fired. With physical jobs, most of the stress is placed on your body (duh) leaving your mind mostly unburdened by 'thinking'. Learning to be a good mason or carpenter may not be simple, but once you learn the basics, repeating the steps become second nature and your mind takes a break. Thinking jobs on the other hand draw from the same pool of resources that your attention taps into. Once you've been thinking about a particular problem for so long, your brain eventually says 'Whoa, the hell with this, I need a break' just the same as your aching muscles would in construction. But since thinking jobs are 'double-taxing' that one resource, your attention span is noticibly shortened. Your mind starts to wander and your productivity takes a nose dive. Any attempt to remain focused just makes the situation worse.

There's my two copper, take from it what you will.

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171106)

I'm still in my 20s, so while I'm sure it's a little of both I would lean more towards the nature of the job. And of course, anecdote != data.

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171306)

I think it's amazing how much energy is spent by the brain as well. After a day of having 10 word documents open, a gazillion folders and trying to do something meaningful with all that, I am really really hungry. I can eat a large lunch and feel very hungry at five thirty. Compare that with a weekend day - even one spent puzzling if it is drowsy outside. I can eat almost nothing at all. Of course, then I get home and cannot always sleep since I've just done too little to exercise my other cells (I really really need to sport more, at least two times after work).

Currently I'm in a bit of a dip, and after 7 hours, I'm just spend. I just went home today before the official day was over, since it was no use sitting around there staring at the screen with my mind on everything but it. The best jobs are those where you can do a bit of travel (to something other than your work, not commuting), a bit of physical work and some creative behind-the-desk stuff. In that regard my dad had the perfect job: responsible for office furnishings at a large company. Oh well, at least I know what kind of chair to get :)

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168890)

Thanks for your input and for bringing this productivity issue to our attention - we will now hire 2 people on 4 hour shifts for a better cost per focussed hour.

I have already outsourced selected IT functions, pray I don't outsource further.

Yours sincerely

The management

FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169376)

FYI, in reality none of us have a 35 hour week... except for government employees.

Re:I think we all know this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169844)

There's a counterpoint to this, at least for programming. I find that if I can get into the "zone" for some project, then I have up to ten hours or more of concentration. Generally, I can concentrate and produce good results until some biological stimulus brings me out of it (e.g. "When did I last pee?" or "Damn, I could eat a raw, unskinned bear").

I bet this doesn't hold for most fields, though.

- T

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

nitrowing (887519) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170850)

I'm the same. When I start a new project (for me) then I can sit for up to 16 hours working. At work? I can only muster 2-3 hour bursts.

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169994)

Weird -- I'm libertarian, yet I have no problem with shorter work weeks. The shorter the better. You know, because I'm all selfish and stuff.

Re:I think we all know this... (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170096)

Weird -- I'm libertarian, yet I have no problem with shorter work weeks. The shorter the better. You know, because I'm all selfish and stuff.

The libertarian issue here is: should there be a law specifying the length of the work week? Or should it be voluntary within companies and industries?

It matters. In Europe they made it a law in order to deal with that one guy at the office who, having no family, spends 80 hours a week at work. Management is too stupid to understand that the 80-hour guy is phutzing around for the first (or last) fifty hours of his week... to management, the guy seems like a motivated superstar, always at the office, always contributing. The Europeans used the law to shut that guy down, saying "We aren't going to compete based on who is willing to live at the office."

I got a job in IT for this very reason (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168282)

After all, no one can tell the difference between surfing the 'Net for fun and me actually doing my job.

Re:I got a job in IT for this very reason (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168986)

That's actually why I got myself a job in the pr0n industry.

People are not dumb automata (2)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168298)

I think it is well-known that people are not dumb automata for a while now. In fact, I think "people over process" could apply to a lot more jobs too.

More relaxed environment gains productivity (3, Insightful)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168308)

This is trivially true as long as relaxation doesn't mean distraction.

We're soooooooorry.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168318)

...but that's not the corporations opinion, please try again.

-- Managment

Case of the Mondays.... (3, Insightful)

sageres (561626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168330)

Don't know... been surfing since 9 am (it is 12:15 now) and being Monday don't feel like doing Jack...
A coworker just came by and he started off with famous cliche, "So, are you working hard or hardly working?"
I chuckle.
We stood for the next 30 minutes discussed everything from current political realities in Middle East to the greatest newest phone gadget on a market.
Yup that's how my day goes.
Someone once told me that out of 8 hours we only in reality work like 1. The rest we pretend. I tend to believe that.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (4, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168370)

Someone once told me that out of 8 hours we only in reality work like 1. The rest we pretend. I tend to believe that.

I was told the same, except it was 3 hours instead of 1. It was my previous supervisor so they may have been trying to get 3x the productivity out of me.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168448)

Obligatory Office Space scene:
http://movieclips.com/2pyJo-office-space-movie-motivation-problems/ [movieclips.com]

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168882)

Well thank fuck it's not a god damn xkcd link.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168616)

Sounds like you need to be fired. With 8 million out of work it seems only fair who should get paid. Or since the business still has its head over the water then maybe it should lay you off to cut costs and bring more value back to the shareholders.

Either way if you owned a company and put your life savings to someone who browses the internet how would you feel? That is how you should look at it. You do not put up with someone texting on their phones at McDonalds while you wait, then why do so in the office where you work?

It is a pet peeve of mine as I was never allowed such luxury expect at 1 job and I am out of work currently who would be more than happy to never browse the web except at lunch if I could have a job. I would feel guilty receiving a paycheck if I were not working my ass off and earning it

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (4, Insightful)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168726)

The thing about the earlier poster is that he probably is paid to be available. I know currently in my job, there is not a whole lot to be done so I have a lot of free time to kill (believe me I personally would much rather have meaningful work to do or not have to come in. They keep paying me for one simple reason, my services are valuable and they get a good deal on them by keeping me salaried. If I was a consultant, I would cost the company I work for a good 4 times more than I currently do. If they find my services valuable and keep me busy even 1/4 of the time, then they are making out on the deal. In exchange, I don't have to worry about the stress of trying to find work all the time and occasionally may be busy far more than 1/4 of the time. It balances out overall, but the whole idea behind salaried work is that you are paid to retain your skills, not for hours worked.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168830)

I used to have a job like yours. In my case I was employed by a company that focused on handling everything IT-related for small- and medium-size companies. Basically, they'd handle desktop support, servers, printers, websites, cash registers/payment processing and all that. As one of three developers at the company I would be tasked with things like whipping up new modules for content management systems, building and deploying websites (both custom-built and ones based on existing templates depending on how much the customer wanted to spend).

The catch was that my employer charged a lot of money for the services I performed so I was profitable even if I only worked ten to fifteen hours per week (according to my boss at the time) and even if there was less work to do it was still a good thing for them to have me and the other two developers around since it helped the sales guys (made it easier for them to promise quick custom solutions).

Of course, all good things come to an end and the company ended up getting bought out by a larger company that was only after the existing customers and sales staff so everyone else got laid off. Sure was nice calling your boss on thursday morning and being told that there was no work to do and that I could just as well go home and relax for the rest of the week though...

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169630)

In my job as a systems, database and backup admin, if I'm doing it right there's not a tremendous work load most of the time. OTOH over my 26 years I've spent lots of time at work after hours and over holiday weekends installing upgrades or putting the systems back together when they go south. They pay me as much for my expertise as they do for my productivity.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169690)

Well your services wont be valuable to me if you check your facebook. How does that give me money?

I am not opposed to someone taking a 30 minute break every now or then once a day. That is understandable. But I do see people who work 2/3 of the day and are being paid money. Meanwhile many are out of work who would love to take these jobs and never goof off because they are thrilled just to have a job.

Buti f you paid someone to mow your lawn and they goofed for an hour wouldn't you be upset?

I just think if someone is making good money it is then wrong for him not to be productive on duty when poor Joe Schmoe at McDonalds gets written up for checking txts on his phone for $16,000 a year. Yes his services are not as valuable which explains his payscale but still for many times more money the manager should expect more. That is common sense too.

Not everyone goofs but a good half do not pull their own weight. If you are good at what you do then you can accomplish even more by working harder. We show up for a certain number of hours because people rely on us so this is when we need to show off. But, not everyone can be a consultant. I just think if people had a hard life finding work they would respect responsibility more and do what is required. Life sucks and life = work. Try to have one without a job?

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (1)

nitrowing (887519) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170962)

But if you paid someone to mow your lawn and they goofed for an hour wouldn't you be upset?

Not if the lawn got done. There is a definite task to complete, I don't care if it takes them all day and, to be honest, I wouldn't be sitting there timing them. The quicker they do the lawn, the quicker they can go and earn more money doing someone else's lawn - more fool them if they goof off.

I, however, work hard so that the company earns more money - not me. So I don't give a shit.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (3, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168742)

since the business still has its head over the water then maybe it should lay you off to cut costs and bring more value back to the shareholders.

Fire an executive and hire 100 productive employees for the same price as the single executive. All they do is draw huge paychecks while accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169748)

Agreed. I'm getting nervous about all the hiring of obscenely expensive upper/mid management and other highly paid people lately... None of whom seem to do all that much. Come in at 9:30-10:00, leave by 4:00, and of course have a 1-2 hour lunch break inbetween. Never particularly accessible and whenever you need information or a decision from any of them they're nowhere to be found and avoid making decisions (isn't that their job?). Company is pissing away insane amounts of money on highly paid people, giving huge relocation bonuses on the order of what I make in a year, bringing in foreigners for these highly paid positions because they know somebody, and on and on the compensation goes. It'd take me a good chunk of my life to make what these people get in a year. To top it off, they preach to us about how the company is making record sales and profit, they all get their 20% bonuses and large raises, and the rest of us get a 1% slap in the face. Org chart at the company I work for...

Sr. Management
Not quite so Sr. Management
Jr. Management
Middle management
Managers of nothing
Underling Managers
Manager of something arbitrary and inconsequential
More managers with 0 - 1 people working under them
me

I made a nifty ASCII org chart bloated at top going down to vertical the last couple levels, but /. doesn't seem to allow it.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169006)

Ehrm... So, what you're saying is you feel bad for the owners and bosses who reap the big bucks while you look down upon the worker who slacks off a bit from making the bosses and owners their money?

So, you're a "Kiss-up/Kick-down" kinda guy?

Why not try to root for the poor little guy (like you!), for a change and blame the rich and powerful who run the show for the mess your society is in, instead?

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169116)

Look, you either earn value for the company or you don't. Web surfing is tangential to that. I'd rather have someone who surfs but can develop an elegant design that makes the customer happy than someone who works hard all day but doesn't understand how the customer thinks and spends all that extra productive force producing the wrong thing.

Re:Case of the Mondays.... (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170186)

It's not so different at my job, where the staff is all but begging management for work to do, and yet they're hiring more people to sit around, just in case something happens, in order to fulfill contractual obligations. Most of us have textbooks and the like at our workstations, and spend half our shifts in self-study or reading tech news sites.

I do more work on my days off than I do at work.

The two jobs I've ever had which required the most labor were a job printing blueprints, and a job serving bagel sandwiches and coffee. Most of the blueprints were duplicates which were required for legal reasons: each one hundreds of sheets of 42"x30" paper, and which no one will ever read. The bagel job serviced an immediate need -- but then, it's a need created by a hurry-up-and-wait culture, in which people are rushing to get to jobs that serve little or no useful function.

After a few centuries of organizing societies around maximizing production, we have very high productivity -- so much so that there's actually very little work that needs to be done. But our global civilization seems unable to cope with that.

Conflicted on this (2)

hellkyng (1920978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168334)

As the guy that monitors web traffic for the whole company, I have to believe the enormous amount of time employees spend on FaceBook isn't helping productivity. On the other hand, I am here...

Re:Conflicted on this (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168780)

Of course, in the real world, there are other concerns. This is only looking at taking short breaks on the web vs not taking short breaks or taking short breaks to check email. It is not comparing effectiveness of any other area of the workplace. People learn what is expected of them to do their job.

Perhaps management has created a perverse incentive to not work very hard? I have seen places where management behavior has pretty much convinced many people that their best course of action is to just slide by and do as little as possible, because even doing good work and being a team player brings just headaches and even reprimands... but slacking goes unnoticed.

Like the old Dilbert strip "Floggings will continue until morale improves"

Re:Conflicted on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37170514)

Perhaps management has created a perverse incentive to not work very hard? I have seen places where management behavior has pretty much convinced many people that their best course of action is to just slide by and do as little as possible, because even doing good work and being a team player brings just headaches and even reprimands... but slacking goes unnoticed.

Not to mention companies where if you do your job efficiently you end up getting even more things to do. That is, time management is basically "get it done as fast as possible, ALL THE TIME!" which provides a pretty strong incentive to slack off whenever you're ahead of schedule...

I am making this post (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168338)

to create a record of my idle surfing, so that I have evidence of my productivity increase.

Re:I am making this post (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169436)

Ooh, me too! I'll forward a link to both our bosses so we can both get our pay raises!

Can't wait (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168362)

Can't wait for the next research resulting in this headline:

Watching Porn and Jerking Off Increases Work Productivity (and lowers violence).

Re:Can't wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168384)

You want to join us for a game of limp biscuit back in the server room?

Re:Can't wait (1)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168414)

I work in a sperm bank, you insensitive clod!

Re:Can't wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168588)

Does the nurses milk your prostate?

Re:Can't wait (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168638)

So hmmm, what sort of dividends do you receive? Some form of profit sharing paid in form of the product?

What kind of performance evaluations do you guys do there?

Is any form of training provided or required to increase productivity?

Do they bring in consultants to observe the processes involved and suggest improvements in efficiencies?

Is overtime paid for or are they just leaving you out in the cold sitting there, waving dicks around (too soon?)

If you have a work related injury, do they send in the nurses?

What do they gift to the retirees, golden cocks?

--
couldn't help it, sorry

Re:Can't wait (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170210)

Don't forget about it lowering the likelihood of active sexual harassment. Passive not so much if your workmate catches a look at your dong and mistakes it as hitting on her. People just gotta be discrete, yo.

Re:Can't wait (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170394)

if your workmate catches a look at your dong and mistakes it as hitting on her

- as long as she ain't hit WITH it she'll be fine.

same for school (3, Interesting)

JigJag (2046772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168374)

In the country where I grew up, the lunch break was 2 hour long, while the class day was 4 hours in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. So you started school at 8am and finished at 6pm. That's an awful long day for north-american standards (start at 8 something and out before 2:30pm). Yet, I see an identical situation with TFA: when we returned to our class on the afternoon we were rested and had a second peak of productivity, while the kids in north-america have only one and by the time they reach 2pm, they're exhausted.

JigJag

recess is needed as well to many fat kids now days (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168464)

recess is needed as well to many fat kids now days

Re:recess is needed as well to many fat kids now d (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168804)

recess is needed as well to many fat kids now days

Not a part of NCLB testing, has to be cut. Teach to the test, and only teach to the test, that is all. Seriously, that's what happened.
More recess, requires a major cultural change, not a minor scheduling change.

Re:same for school (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168634)

8am and finished at 6pm. That's an awful long day for north-american standards
Sigh, to be back in school again.
I remember the 1pm-10:30pm back to back with one class overlapping by 5 minutes. Good times.
Now Working for 8:00-6:00 with an hour break is the the norm.

Screwing around on the web all day (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168444)

Biased result - what they should have done was give people a set amount of time work to do, gave them the same amount of money, and then measured the productivity of the two groups. Instead, they put the first group to work for the full 30 minutes and then gave the second group 20 minutes of work, a break to browse the web for 10 minutes, then 10 more minutes of work. A break gives you more productivity on tedious tasks like highlighting every letter 'e' in a Word document? Duh! At least it was done in Singapore so we know no U.S. tax dollars were spent on such an obvious conclusion.

How about people who don't work at all but screw around on the web all day? Giving them the same amount of money for work or no work would answer that question. I know for a fact some people will sit around all day at work commenting on their friends' facebook status, checking twitter, watching Youtube with headphones on, and reading celebrity news. Heck, I've done my fair share of wasting time, too..."Honest boss, I need to check Slashdot all day to...uh...stay current in tech trends!" (to be fair this was back in 2001 when this website was a different place)

Planner versus Production with Salary (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169534)

I'm a planner, mostly. I think of ways to fix problems and improve my company's network systems. Not only is reading Slashdot "productive" for me, so is sitting around at home watching a movie and eating popcorn.

The point is, I'm paid salary, not hourly. It doesn't matter how much time I'm given, I just have to complete all tasks, period. So, if I want to show up at work and screw around on Slashdot, or Google+ or whatever, it means nothing. Either my job gets done or not. If it continually doesn't get done, I won't have a job to return to.

At this very moment, I have at least 5 other things that I need to work on, yet I'm posting here. Why? If I get them done now, I can leave early. Otherwise, I'll be here for a lot longer. But, as anyone in IT knows, don't got changing every damn thing on the network if you don't like chaos. ;) I'll update a client after I post. I'll call a Cisco engineer when I'm done with that. I'll screw around on Google+ after that, maybe post a ICanHazCheesburger picture after that, then check on my daily backups, then load balance the VM cloud, then I might even *gasp* check out some ladies in bikinis.

It's my job, my responsibilities, my choice how to spend my time. What time do they get from me? I've had to stay until 3am without any overtime pay to make sure email is working at 6am. Most of the time I sat watching the server transfer on one monitor, and watching Star Trek TNG on Netflix on my phone.

Anyone who has a complaint about that can find someone else willing to do my job, at my pay, with the same dedication, and with no goof-off time*. Haha, yeah, good luck with that!

I've had manual labor jobs, and no, the only perk there is listening to music. It's not the same, and you can't screw around on an hourly job, imho.

* btw, my "goof-off" time is usually reading on tech, which constantly improves my performance.

CAN is important (3, Informative)

d.the.duck (2100600) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168474)

Also, hitting on women at work CAN get you laid. Strangely it also CAN get you fired.

Re:CAN is important (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168646)

It CAN do both.

Re:CAN is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37170984)

Trust me, it's worth it. After you've had a blowjob in the fire escape, oral sex will at other times and in other places will become meaningless and dull for you.

the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168496)

not that i am complaining, as this is exactly how i use slashdot (he said, posting from work), and i think this is true of most other people here

slashdot would materially suffer from a workplace that blocked outside surfing

i would further add that the articles i read on slashdot have benefited me at work, such as with the recent spate of articles covering development on the android: i bring these subjects up in meetings with my coworkers and superiors and employees under me

the web at work is not about porn or gambling sites. unfortunately, that's the only way some management views the issue. you can walk a middle road: black list sites of only a certain nature. for example: block porntube.com, don't block cnn.com

furthermore, if you do have an employee looking at porn or gambling from work, you are dealing with someone whose comfort level with certain kinds of transgressions at work that they are probably transgressing in other ways at work as well. meaning, blocking their web access is not the way to deal with them, and doesn't solve the problem of the other possible transgressions they are probably engaging in, perhaps against the company. keep an eye at them at least, or better yet, terminate them. anyone surfing porn or gambling from work has issues

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168580)

I don't know. I see a lot of people in my office closely watching certain stocks.

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168630)

lol!

touche ;-)

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171314)

Maybe you could make a movie about French zombies. That would be great.

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (2)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168586)

A few years back I discovered the head of HR at my work was looking at porn on a nearly daily basis. Sure explained why he stayed really late all the time. This was resolved with a basically "don't do that" when the rest of HR and senior management were made aware of it. No repercussions or anything. Fast forward a couple years and there are a few people at some of our different locations looking at porn. Some of these were people who were not surfing but had just received email with pictures or links from those who did surf porn frequently. They were all fired without warning.

Of course these were all lower level employees, not making deep six figures with ridiculous benefits and compensation packages, etc. It absolutely disgusts me the way some of these companies operate.

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168666)

yup

this seems to be the increasing tenor in this country (or my country, if you are not posting from the usa): classism. class warfare is of course the next step. unfortunate, but people denied equal treatment because of their income have to fight back some way to reaffirm the fairness owed them, the double standards

the right has even openly embraced classism as the new "morality" for america: "i got mine already, so screw you". "you're poor? sorry, no healthcare or education for you". get your money and screw your fellow americans "i love america! (just not my actual fellow americans, they can rot as far as i care, so yeah, i guess i don't love america, only myself)"

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168660)

Or ignore it and make sure their performance reviews are accurate. If they're performing, and not damaging the performance of other employees, who cares what websites they're looking at?

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168692)

anyone gambling or surfing porn from work is not performing. i's like the hilarious lie that heroin addicts should be allowed to take heroin if they can still perform at work and maintain their relationships. such people don't exist!

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37170450)

Maybe you can make a movie about junkie zombies. That would be great.

Re:the most self-serving article on slashdot ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37170800)

Maybe you could make a movie about zombie employees surfing porn and gambling from work. That would be cool.

This has been true for me (4, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168546)

I can think of a number of times I've gotten stuck on a scripting problem, distracted myself on the web for a couple of minutes, then come back and have had the solution become clear to me. I don't really know why this happens but I suspect it's because I'm willing to dump where I'm at and start over from the beginning to look for the problem. Im not sure how much sense that makes so I'll put it another way: I needed a mental reboot.

I don't personally believe productivity takes any real hit from web broswing. Even if it did, I think the info that is gathered from it can make up or even exceed that gap. I had a boss ding me once for talking to someone on ICQ. A month or two later he needed me to find some info. I knew the dude from ICQ had experience with that particular product and he was kind enough to fill me in. My boss was reasonable enough to take back the comment he made.

Re:This has been true for me (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168782)

I can think of a number of times I've gotten stuck on a scripting problem, distracted myself on the web for a couple of minutes, then come back and have had the solution become clear to me. I don't really know why this happens but I suspect it's because I'm willing to dump where I'm at and start over from the beginning to look for the problem. Im not sure how much sense that makes so I'll put it another way: I needed a mental reboot.

I /. (and other sites) and also go on walkabouts. Main difference is on /. there is a permanent record on an optical disk (I probably fill a DVD-R all by myself) in some dusty warehouse of every click and every keystroke I ever made, whereas WRT my walkabouts, the carpet is microscopically more worn. Guess which gets documented on the review...

The other issue is that frankly I get a heck of a lot of ideas by surfing the web. There's surfing Ruby sites/blogs, which they may as well catagorize along with manual reading and training time, and then there's FB and G+ which frankly rate right up there with watching paint dry in terms of productivity. Was not using ruby at that time, but am now. Currently Fing off at postgresql sites during downtime, which we don't CURRENTLY use, but...

Two guys goof off on the net between tasks, one learns the joys and pitfalls of master-master mysql replication, the other tries to get a date on facebook. Both look the same to the pointiest of PHBs.

Re:This has been true for me (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169076)

I know what you mean. I had a job once where they placed my desk right in the hallway. All day I could hear virtually every conversation that was going on, not to mention the constant bombardment of phantom footsteps walking by. To top it off, I sat next to the laser printer, so everybody'd come up and say hi to me. Eventually I got a CD player and a pair of headphones. Finally I could work in peace! My boss dinged me for looking like I wasn't paying attention.

In his heart I think he was trying to help me improve my appearance with my colleagues, but there were times I wondered how he could have been so disconnected from reality.

Re:This has been true for me (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171296)

" I needed a mental reboot"

I do this all the time, mostly when working on new things. When the busy time hits and I'm doing the grind, I "need" it less, but it still keeps be from feeling burnt out so fast.

I actually come up with most of my ideas when randomly browsing the web.

office environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168554)

This is indeed why I am mostly here.
However today I still need to kill 30min before I have 'worked' my official 8h of the day

What I find more hampering my productivity however are these bullshit landscape environments. I have 40 people around with 16 of them in my close vicinity in that I can hear their personal and business phone calls, their social talk about boring stuff (boring to me) and all.

On my previous job I could develop from home and just come in once a week to have meetings. Now I feel it's like trying to develop in the food court in the mall on black friday.

Naps, surfing, restorative lunches, gyms, games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168596)

I haven't worked in years, but I am relaxed and rested.

To help you all "restore"... (1)

stderr (164469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168600)

here [wordpress.com] 's a picture of a lolcat.

Now get back to work!

How many of these studies do we need, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168656)

until managers actually start paying attention?

And, for that matter, why do we need studies that prove being locked in a cave is emotionally crushing and bad for productivity?

CAN, but probably DOESN'T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168690)

Sure, it might help occasionally, but the opportunities for it to harm productivity seem more likely to occur more often.

Re:CAN, but probably DOESN'T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169028)

Where is your empirical data?

Re:CAN, but probably DOESN'T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169466)

http://www.grahamjones.co.uk/2010/blog/social/social-networks-could-harm-your-productivity.html
http://www.tut.fi/units/tuta/teta/mittaritiimi/julkaisut/internet.pdf
http://content.dell.com/us/en/gen/d/large-business/employee-web-usage-policies.aspx
http://www.softwareknowhow.info/Buyers-Guide/Increasing--productivity/126

I am agaisn't browsing (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168758)

If employees keep it down to like maybe 30 minutes a day and no more and are self disciplined than I do not have a problem.

However, I am a big of the book Its called Work For A Reason [google.com] by Larry Winget. Basically, he mentioned studies showed that people only work 40% of the time in the office. The rest is chatting, reading email, stretching, and browsing the web.

In the past, I worked at crappy jobs where you could not goof off at all. My first job was fastfood in highschool. I did retail work after that too where you constantly had to load shelves, talk to customers, and run cash registers and so on. You think I had the luxury of browsing the web? Or even txting on the phone? In these jobs I made $15,000 a year. Shouldn't I work even harder if I make $40,000 a year? If I browse the web for 3 hours with 4 other co-workers then I waste a whole workers pay/productivity. Over a year that costs $40,000 in lost productivity. How is that different from me taking money from the cash register at my previous jobs?

I am out of work at the moment and it drives me crazy to see people with lower work ethics keeping their jobs. I always try to look at it from the view of the owner and customer. If I am wating for a Latte at Starbucks I do not want to see employees browsing the web on their IPAD while I wait or browsing the web in the managers office. I want their butt making my coffee. I would then be a hypocrit to sit on my butt at work.

People can easily work twice as hard and this recession is finally forcing employees to do just that ... well some

Re:I am agaisn't browsing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168948)

I was doing a lot of electronics assembly this past summer for 8 hours a day, 3 days a week. It was quite boring, repetitious work. Even though I got far less work done when the office clown was around (when one person clowns around, I tend to join in), I did not feel bored out of my fucking mind when he was around, and was happier in general. In addition, I was able to be more focused when I was working.

Re:I am agaisn't browsing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169274)

Well our comments taken as a whole are probably why you're out of work. I also worked fast food and retail making $15,000 a year and worked my ass off. I now make $40,000 a year and hardly work at all.

You seem to be a corporate shill. You probably also support government programs that hurt you and help income classes higher than yours (what yours would be). You deliver every project before deadline, work your ass off doing it, and never complain. You also get angry that others do less than half the work you do and presumably get paid more and have an easier time.

I've seen people like you come and go. People like you create the problem that makes the rest of us slaves. You are probably out of work because you were a threat to your manager and the low-productivity status quo at your job.

Re:I am agaisn't browsing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169542)

Well if you feel entitled to be a slave than quit.

No one is forcing you to work. Infact, go move back into your parents basement too since you wont have a job? Now after 3 months tell me how awefull those little snots like myself work their ass off and have a real life because we have jobs.

Life is work. If you do not work then you do not have a life. Plain and simple and yes the people making more money who get these promotions and own their own businesses have a taste of the good life. It sure as hell aint free but when they are 60 they can retire and not move in to a relatives house or be dependent on goverment aid. I do not know is social security will even be around in 30 years.

Call me a corporate shill. I will say my life sucked and realized it was because of my attitude towards work and I am very greatful to have a job.

Re:I am agaisn't browsing (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170336)

In these jobs I made $15,000 a year. Shouldn't I work even harder if I make $40,000 a year?

Um... No.

You should, however, provide more value to your employer, exercise a high demand skill that is in relatively low supply, create value, etc. People who ask "you want fries with that?" in exchange for $7 an hour should clue in that literally any idiot can do that, and if they want more, they are going to have to distinguish themselves somehow.

Of course, your first problem seems to be that you are laboring under the delusion that life is (or is supposed to be) fair. Never was, and is not likely to become so before you or I die.

Re:I am agaisn't browsing (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37170524)

... your first problem seems to be that you are laboring under the delusion that life is (or is supposed to be) fair. Never was, and is not likely to become so before you or I die.

On the other hand, one should not let the existence of this state of unfairness become the excuse for not attempting to destroy it, for doing nothing to mitigate its effects, or, worse, for promoting it as a good.

Not going to change things around here (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168796)

Most of the websites blocked here are known malware hosts, sites that link to known malware hosts, and social networking sites that offer too many vectors for infiltraiton.

It's not about appropriateness, it's about data security. Which is, here, appropriate.

Mind you, I rarely feel refreshed after browsing Slashdot any more. And I wouldn't hit Fark here at work, you never know what you'll get.

Control group: coffee break and informal meeting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37168854)

Did they do a control group with coffee breaks and informal meetings? I wager those serve a similar function. Note, informal meeting as in "gathering by Joe's cube" as opposed to "everybody called into the conference room to view PowerPoint from some director who flew in from Dallas". The latter is most likely a severe productivity killer for everybody involved.

The people who should read this (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37168920)

I find it interesting that the people who should read this, are banned from browsing the internet during work hours, and as such will probably never read it.

I could name a few business and government organizations but I won't.

If not the web (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37169340)

If it wasn't surfing the web, it would be something else, going for a walk to the coffee machine, staring off into space. Anything to give yourself a break from the current task at hand.

If you get the days work done what does it matter? Unfortunately HR droids and the like see it as "You're stealing x amount time off the company, you could be x amount more productive". Almost like the mythical man month etc.

Re:If not the web (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169526)

Every now and then I'll decide that I need to work harder to get ahead, so I'll completely swear off the internet for a day. By 11 am I'll have noticed that I've just been staring at the diagram without doing anything for 30 minutes. Something to break up the monotony is very important.

And if you turn of internets (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37169426)

productivity skyrockets.

Does it include... (1)

fatherjoecode (1725040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171098)

...this web surfing session to read this article?
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