Feeds

Short bursts of The Reg at work increase your productivity

Oz study calls for WILB time

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Sneaking a little web surfing into the work day increases our concentration and productivity overall, according to a University of Melbourne study.

Report author Brent Coker, from the U's department of management and marketing, said folks who indulge in short browsing breaks are about nine per cent more productive than those who do not.

"Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos on YouTube, using social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online under the pretense that it costs millions in lost productivity, however that's not always the case," Coker wrote on the university's website.

Net benefits to work productivity were noted, so long as surfing is kept below 20 per cent of the total time in the office, according to the study's release. The conclusion was drawn by observing 300 workers, 70 per cent of which browse the net at work. It's not clear how "productivity" was being measured in the study, however. As of publication, Coker hasn't replied to an email requesting further details.

Coker apparently hopes to pin surfing at work with its own acronym - Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing, or WILB. The conclusion he draws from the study is that "people need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration."

He claimed a typical work day involves an overall goal broken into a series of smaller tasks. For example, writing a report may require formating graphs, editing and so on. By rewarding the accomplishment of these smaller tasks with "short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf on the internet" our concentration can reset itself. If we aren't given a break, our concentration slides down, Coker said.

According to the study, the most popular surfing activities are searching for information about products and reading online news sites (thank us for your productivity later.) Playing online games ranked number five, and watching YouTube vids was seventh.

The catch, of course, is browsing at work must be done in moderation. Those who spend more than a "normal" amount of time online (showing signs of "Internet Addiction") will have a lower productivity overall than those without.

So chances are we aren't helping you after all. ®

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?