Research carried out by a team from Melbourne University in Australia came to the conclusion that visiting Facebook or shopping online during office hours could actually increase workers' productivity.
In a study of 300 workers, 70 percent of employees who go online at work do engage in WILB with the most popular activities including watching movies on Youtube, playing games online, reading news, chatting up on Instant messenger and updating one's status on Facebook (ed: Add twittering to the list).
The author of the paper, Dr Brent Coker, reckons that "'workplace internet leisure browsing" or WILB could help sharpen workers' concentration as "people need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration".
Indeed, using the internet for leisure, the virtual equivalent of taking a break, improved employees' productivity by a whopping 9 percent, under the condition that the people used the internet "in moderation" or were online for less than a fifth of their total time in the office.
Dr Coker however warned against internet addiction which could have adverse effects - like any addictions - on productivity. He posits that "approximately 14 per cent of internet users in Australia show signs of internet addiction - they don't take breaks at appropriate times, they spend more than a `normal' amount of time online, and can get irritable if they are interrupted while surfing." (ed to ed team: that's sounds like us, guys)
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Had this story been published yesterday, it might have been taken for an early April fool. On a serious note though, it is a delicate balance that many employers hesitate to try with good reasons. 20 percent of an employee's time dedicated to leisure equates approximately to 7 hours a week, that's roughly £400 worth of opportunity time per month. Hardly something that any employers would look forward to lose during a recession.
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