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Freedom to Surf Increases Employee Productivity

Freedom to Surf Increases Employee Productivity

Supervisors who freak-out when employees use the Internet at work for non-work reasons should breathe a little easier.  A new study published by the University of Melbourne, Australia, shows employees who engage in WILB (workplace internet leisure browsing) are 9% more productive than their non-surfing counterparts.

The research study’s media release identifies that employees need time to periodically zone-out in order to allow their mind to return to a higher level of concentration.  Leisurely surfing activities, in moderation of course, allows workers to be more productive.  All of us need to get away from our desk, walk around, and take a break.  Evidently, our mind needs time to play as well.

“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,” said Dr. Brent Coker, from the University’s Department of Management and Marketing.

According to an article published on, the research has turned viral and is spreading across offices worldwide due to employee interest.

If this research proves to be correct (and I have my doubts), it should further motivate leaders to consider becoming more flexible with sites like Facebook and Twitter, restricted web addresses for many corporate employees.

Flexibility with technological usage, telecommuting, and other  workplace productivity issues, need to be revisited in many organizations to encourage a more results-only work environment based on trust and respect.  The technological workplace is changing and a great number of managers need to adapt their leadership skills to promote optimum productivity.  Socializing in moderation, whether it’s in the hallway or the information superhighway, should rule the day.

Maybe all work and no play really does make for a dull employee.

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


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