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Study: Social Networking Can Increase Office Productivity
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April 06, 2009

Study: Social Networking Can Increase Office Productivity

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

A new study from the University of Melbourne concludes that surfing the Internet during office hours increases productivity. So for those who use social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook at work (read: Social Network junkies) now have an excuse and no longer need to hide!

The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about nine percent more productive then those who do not.
Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said "workplace Internet leisure browsing," or WILB, helped sharpen workers' concentration.
"People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration," Coker said on the university's Website.
"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.
Among the most popular WILB activities are searching for information about products, reading online news sites, playing online games and watching videos on YouTube.
"Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos, using social networking sites or shopping online under the pretense that it costs millions in lost productivity," said Coker. "That's not always the case."
However, Coker said the study looked at people who browsed in moderation, or were on the Internet for less than 20 percent of their total time in the office.
This study only proves what you knew all along, doesn’t it? So when your boss walks by your desk, peering over your shoulder to check up on you, who cares if you’re on Facebook looking through your best friend’s photo album or Twittering about how you wish you could go home, those upper-management folks can’t do a darn thing, you’re increasing your productivity.
However, Coker said, "Those who behave with Internet addiction tendencies will have a lower productivity than those without." So, remember, don’t go overboard and surf in moderation, and you’ll still be productive.

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