It’s official – “cyberloafing”, aka browsing the web at work, can actually be beneficial for employees to work optimally, according to a recent study by the National University of Singapore.
In fact, surfing the internet might be better than texting friends or sending personal emails when it comes to enhancing productivity, study co-author Dr Vivien K.G. Lim said. “People usually choose to visit only the sites that they like – it's like going for a coffee or snack break. Breaks of [this] nature are pleasurable, rejuvenating the web surfer.”
Replying to e-mails was actually more mentally taxing, she explained. “Firstly, the compelling need to reply to a received e-mail impedes employees' psychological engagement by affecting their ability to concentrate. And, secondly, when employees reply to these e-mails, they experience resource depletion, negative affect and workflow disruption.”
The Impact of Cyberloafing on Psychological Engagement study also found that excessive monitoring of their web browsing makes employees do it more. “I would encourage employers to allow a certain amount of time for staff to browse the web as it actually enhances productivity and helps them concentrate better at work,” Lim said.