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Surfing the Web at Work Makes Employees More Productive, Study Says

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 30, 2011 6:45 AM

Maybe it's time you loosen your law firm internet policy.

Did you know that associates who surf the net at work might actually be getting more work done?

"Cyberloafing," or surfing the web, can increase employee productivity according to a National University of Singapore study.

Managers and partners at firms may think that blocking more "frivolous" websites like Facebook or YouTube are good ways to prevent associates from slacking off. But, maybe letting associates and staff members enjoy an uninhibited internet experience may pay off in the long run.

After all, many would agree with the sentiment that employees are generally more productive if given rest breaks. Rest breaks give tired associates the ability to regain some lost energy, reinvigorating their work efforts.

In this digital age, it's very likely that your associates may find a 10-minute web surfing break more restful than a coffee break.

The study was conducted on around 96 undergraduate students. A third of the students were assigned to simply work. Another third was assigned work and a rest break where they could do anything but surf the web. The last group was assigned a break where they could browse the internet at their leisure.

The web-surfing group was not only more productive but also reported less mental exhaustion and a higher level of engagement in their work, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Of course, web surfing should be done in moderation. And, associates should probably not be allowed to devote significant chunks of their day to watching music videos on YouTube.

But, this new study might mean that law firm internet policies should loosen up. Letting employees take a rejuvenating break on Facebook may mean that they'll be mentally well-rested enough to tackle drafting that opposition brief. And, alert employees might even produce higher-quality work product.

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