Monday, April 06, 2009

Facebook time boosts employee productivity?

And not just Facebook; letting employees sneak peeks at YouTube, Twitter, or play games while at work also boosts their productivity -- within limits. That's the counterintuitive conclusion reached in a recent Australian study according to the linked Reuters article (that I first saw on Yahoo!News).

The study was conducted by the University of Melbourne. Dr. Brent Coker, of the university's Department of Management and Marketing, reports that "People who do surf the Internet for fun at work - within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office - are more productive by about 9% than those who don’t."

It may not matter what sites the employees favor while browsing; the study seems to offer benefits for most "who engage in ‘Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing’ (WILB)." According to Coker, "This works because people can only concentrate for so long. "Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days work, and as a result, increased productivity."

But not, sadly, for all: Persons who suffer from an 'Internet Addiction' will be less productive if allowed to browse at work. Dr. Coker says, "Approximately 14% 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." Not surprisingly, Coker says that, "WILB is not as helpful for this group of people - those who behave with internet addiction tendencies will have a lower productivity than those without."

So -- we learn two lessons here.

First, when your boss catches you reading this blog this morning at work, don't react with irritation. Instead, tell the boss that you're just boosting your productivity. You're willing to make this sacrifice to enhance your value to your beloved employer.

Second, since we now know that reading Second Effort will boost most workers' productivity, tell your friends and family to read, too -- but not for more than 20% of their work day. (Tell them to linger in the Archives at night or on weekends.) Together we can turn the corner on this recession!

Wow. I'm helping to increase employee productivity just by blogging... just thinking about it... if this doesn't qualify me for some of that stimulus money, I don't know what will....


landgirl said...

I am always gratified when I can be the first to comment on one of your posts. I like the idea of your leading us out of the recession with your blog.
Now, however, here's a scary thought. What if employers devised some sort of test to discover the internet-addictable from the productivity enhancers. Spooky, eh? Good science fiction plot potential at least.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

sounds good to me curmy! i'm in... oh. wait. i don't have a job. never mind.

smiles, bee

sari said...

So does this mean you're signing up for Facebook now?