Web surfing at work increases performance

If you're reading this at work don't feel guilty. According to a new study, web surfing may actually help improve your performance. But don't check email.

“Web browsing can actually refresh tired workers and enhance their productivity, compared to other activities such as making personal calls, texts or emails, let alone working straight through with no rest at all.”


The researchers found that the Web-surfers were significantly more productive and effective at the tasks than those in the other two groups and reported lower levels of mental exhaustion, boredom and higher levels of engagement.

Web surfing is beneficial but emailing not so much

“Browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function,” the authors said. Personal emailing, by contrast, was particularly distracting for workers. The second study, which surveyed 191 adults, found similar results.

Why is Web-surfing more restorative than responding to an email? Browsing the internet is like taking a coffee break. “Breaks of such nature are pleasurable, rejuvenating the Web surfer,” Dr. Lim, the study's author wrote in an email to the WSJ. Emailing, however, is “cognitively more demanding, relative to web surfing, as you need to pay attention to what is said on the email.”


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