Why bosses should let employees surf the web at work

phys.org | 1/20/2016 | Staff
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If you're like most workers, you don't spend 100% of your time at the office doing what you're supposed to be doing.

In fact, on average, U.S. workers spend about 10% of their work day surfing the internet, emailing friends or shopping online. This so-called cyberloafing costs employers up to US$85 billion a year.

Behaviors - Sign - Worker - Time - New

But it turns out, these behaviors may not be a sign a worker is lazy or just wasting time. New research I conducted with several colleagues suggests cyberloafing can help workers cope with an exceptionally stressful work environment.

Existing research on cyberloafing, a term first coined in 2002 by researchers from the National University of Singapore, typically assumes that this behavior is problematic and counterproductive.

Majority - Research - Ways - Employees - Behavior

Therefore, the majority of cyberloafing research focuses on ways to deter employees from engaging in this behavior through interventions such as internet monitoring and computer use policies.

However, more recent research has found that using the internet at work for personal purposes may also have some positive outcomes. For instance, social media use at work has been linked to higher levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Studies - Way - Employees - Stress - Instance

And other studies indicate that cyberloafing may provide a way for employees to manage workplace stress. For instance, empirical research suggest that employees surf the web as a response to boredom and unclear instructions.

But is cyberloafing actually effective at reducing employee stress levels?

Question - Stacey - Kessler - Shani - Pindek

That's the question Stacey Kessler, Shani Pindek, Gary Kleinman, Paul Spector and I wanted to answer in our new study. Our hypothesis was that cyberloafing may serve as a mini break during the workday, giving employees an opportunity to recover from stressful work situations.

To test this, we recruited 258 university students who also worked at least 20 hours per week to complete an online survey about their experiences on the job. Specifically, we asked them to rank how...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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