Bosses may have it all wrong when they assume that funny cat videos and FAIL slideshows are a drain on the workplace. Some new research finds that a moderate amount of mindless web surfing actually makes workers more productive at their jobs. And the more mindless the surfing, the better.“Employees who browse the web more end up being more engaged at work, so why fight that if it’s in moderation?” says Don J.Q. Chen, a researcher at the National University of Singapore and a co-author of the new report, presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management.
Although personal web browsing is generally seen as a workplace problem, Chen and his colleague, Vivien K. G. Lim, set out to determine if so-called “cyberloafing” had any benefits. They found that not only did it refresh workers after long work stretches, it made workers more productive than if they’d been given time to talk or text with friends or send personal emails.