If you're spending company dollars on blocking software to prevent employees from going on sites like Facebook or YouTube at work, perhaps this study will make you think twice.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne found that people who use the internet for personal reasons while working are actually 9 percent more productive than those who don't. Of the 300 workers in the study, 70 percent of of those who surf the web said that they browse on non-work related sites for fun.
Brent Coker, who works in the university's department of management and marketing, led the study. He concluded that "workplace Internet leisure browsing" is a good thing.
"Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos, using social networking sites or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity," Coker said. "That's not always the case."
"People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration," he said. "Think back to when you were in class listening to a lecture – after about 20 minutes your concentration probably went right down, yet after a break your concentration was restored. It's the same in the work place."
Of course, Coker says it's all in moderation. He doesn't recommend that employers allow workers to spend hours upon end chatting with friends or shopping for shoes. But he does suggest allowing them to take the occasional break.
"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."