Personal Surfing At Work Is Good

from the finally! dept

Every time another study comes out, commissioned by a web filtering company, saying that (oh no!) people are doing personal surfing at work – I wonder what’s wrong with a little personal surfing at work? I certainly do it, and it’s useful for me to take a mental breather and keep my batteries charged. I encourage my employees to do it as well. Contrary to web filtering and short sighted managers’ beliefs, it’s really not a good thing to force someone to remain engaged non-stop for an entire day. Their productivity actually goes down. Finally, some researchers have come up with a study to support that. Researchers have shown that letting employees do some personal surfing at work leads to “better time management, stress reduction, improvement of skill sets and helping to achieve a balance between work and personal life.” This follows a study earlier this year that said employees who surfed at work ended up making it up elsewhere. Perhaps people are finally realizing there’s a difference between time spent working and productivity. Now where’s the study saying work-time naps are also helpful to productivity?

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Comments on “Personal Surfing At Work Is Good”

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Steve Sanderson says:

CLASSIC case of 'Napster logic'

This is a classic case of so-called Napster logic. Sure, letting employees surf non-work related sites all day actually makes productivity improve! And stealing copyrighted music online actually makes people go out and by more CDs! And the people of Iraq actually want US soldiers there to keep the peace!

Get real

Mike (profile) says:

Re: CLASSIC case of 'Napster logic'

And yours is a classic case of so-called “truckload of vegetables” logic

Sorry, but no where did anyone say people should be surfing at work ALL day.

When you take someone’s reasoned argument, ignore the point, stretch it to the extreme and pretend you’ve proved your point, you don’t look very smart. Just because you can’t follow a discussion past the very first level of analysis doesn’t mean that what people say isn’t true.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

If there’s nothing to do at work it’s more productive to go over to O’Reilly and learn something than to be gossiping around the watercooler.

Most of the Engineers where I work admit they couldn’t do their jobs without Google – or the company would have to spend a fortune on manuals, training courses and support.

Whenever I’m doing a bit of surfing, I stop immediately if there’s something workish to do, I don’t believe many people will let work slide to go lurk on some forum….?

Michael Leuchtenburg says:

No Subject Given

In one of the most laid back jobs I had, there was a couch in my shared office, and a ping pong table in the warehouse area. Darts, too. We had ping pong and darts tournaments every couple of months. We also had beer and wings (or other catered food – always beer, though) every friday afternoon, at 3pm, for the entire (100 or so person) company.

It definitely helped my productivity to be able to take a break and go play a game of ping pong or take a nap on the couch. I often come to the most important realizations about a project while *not* working on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

at my last job (ISP tech support), they locked down everything but the company websites. not only were we bored senseless and ready to go freaking postal at the slightest provocation, but we had links to external sites in our knowledge base — that, y’know, could have helped us do our jobs — that we couldn’t even get to. what the hell?

eeyore says:

what's the diff?

I had a coworker who took at least a dozen smoke breaks a day, fifteen to twenty minutes a pop. That’s like about three hours a day spent standing around outside the building smoking and gossiping with the rest of the nicotine crowd. And that’s not incredibly abnormal either. You go out to the smoking area and you see the same people standing around virtually any time of day. I don’t smoke so when I need a mental break I surf the internet. And I don’t spend three hours a day doing it or have a hacking wet cough either.

Janet (user link) says:

surfing @ work

The more mentally intense your job the more you need to disengage & do some mindless surfing for a while.

Sometimes I surfing triggers my creativity. I also can’t help but work at home. I guess it’s because I love what I do that it does become blurred at times.

My first job out of college with a biology degree found me answering the phones at a startup. I was so bored I surfed a lot and never got tired of it. I got to know the web really well. Before I knew it that became my new career.

At Novell Eric Schmidt asked employees to surf the web for an hour a day. Things evolve so quickly you have to explore often or you’ll lose touch.


Winston says:

Surfing at work

Given the recent rise of spying on employee surfing activity, I’ve been looking for some form of protection for the occasional in between time activites – anonymizer is a pretty good product along with several open source products but something new Mighty Key is available and has firefox loaded on a USB drive with an integrated proxy browser. Seems easy to use and doesn’t leave a trace on the computer.

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