A university study claims that allowing work time access to social networking and media sites actually increases productivity.
"People who surf the internet for fun at work, within a reasonable limit of less than 20 per cent of their total time in the office, are more productive by about nine per cent than those who don't," said Dr Brent Coker, a professor from the university's department of management and marketing.
Workplace access to such sites has become a hot-button issue in recent years, and many enterprises have attempted to block employees from accessing the sites for productivity and security reasons.
However, Dr Coker suggested that this kind of reaction may, in fact, be hurting some companies.
"Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos on YouTube, using social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online, under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity, but that's not always the case," he said.
The study noted that the increased productivity level applies only to carefully managed leisure browsing time, and that users who spend too much time online will be even less productive when they do work.
"Approximately 14 per cent of internet users in Australia show signs of internet addiction: they don't take breaks at appropriate times, they spend more than a 'normal' amount of time online, and they can get irritable if they are i nterrupted while surfing," Dr Coker said.
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