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You Nap, I Surf (and hope methadone is not required)... Productivity Strategies for Boomers and Y's....

There's obviously a BIG GAP in generational expectations when it comes to using the Internet and everything it enables (news, stocks, twitter, facebook, browsing), especially when it comes to productivity.  The old school, which includes old-school managers and many big companies that just can't bring themselves to trust employees at work, thinks the Internet is a giant productivity suck at work.  For that reason, many old guard companies still block access to certain categories of sites, including news and social media tools.

You've read about this last week, so let's discuss.  An Australian study shows that Internet surfing increases productivity.  From Wired.com:

"Caught Twittering or on Facebook at work? It'll make you a better employee, according to anInteret addict Australian study that shows surfing the Internet for fun during office hours increases productivity.

The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not. Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said "workplace Internet leisure browsing," or WILB, helped to sharpened workers' concentration.

"People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration," Coker said on the university's website (www.unimelb.edu.au/). "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," he said.

According to the study of 300 workers, 70 percent of people who use the Internet at work engage in WILB."

I agree with the study results from my own experience, even if it has taken me two hours to finish this post because I have 18 browser windows open and Michael from Human Race Horses is pinging me via Google Chat (writing on a Sunday, btw, DAXKO peeps).  But there's a dark side from an employee relations standpoint from the study:

"But this doesn't apply to everyone. Approximately 14 percent of the sample showed signs of Internet addiction and, for them, Web surfing can decrease productivity. The more they surfed at work, the less productive they were. The reason for this, he said, "is because of an 'urge' to search the Internet. "Those that aren't addicted, don't have this urge and they surf the Internet as a reward."

Which begs the following question:  Would you accept a decrease in productivity and a possible addiction (can the ADA be far behind) in 14% of your employee base in exchange for 70% of your employees gaining an average of 9% increased productivity?  

I think I would.  Maybe the study actually provides a non-big brother reason to use some of the monitoring software that many companies have.  Use more than 8 hours at work surfing (20% of the 40 hour work week), get some automatic employee relations attention.  Maybe a trip to the methadone clinic (bonus - can anyone tell me the best reference ever to the concept of a methadone clinic in music?  Hint - it's in a Kid Rock song).

What about you?  Hit me in the comments...

Comments

Hayli @ Transition Concierge

I do find random Internet browsing a very motivating reward for crossing things off my to-do list. However, I do not have an addiction, like "all my heroes in the methadone clinics."

HRGood_Witch

OK. I admit it - I'm Old School. But, to my credit (?), I'm aware and I'm trying. I once had an employee who would msn at work. It drove me NUTS ... I'm talking white-knuckling it whenever I walked by her workstation. But, I let it go. I knew she needed lots of interaction and diversion, and she wsn't getting it from her job. Everyone's different - I buy it that it can help productivity. And, like anything in excess, it can also drain productivity. Just need to manage results and output.

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