Just In: Screwing Around Online Makes You a Better Employee

I’m an excellent employee.

All these years, I thought the time I spent screwing around on the Interwebs was a waste of time. Turns out, though, it makes me more productive.

A study by the University of Melbourne finds that workers who use the Web for “personal reasons” while on the job are 9 percent more productive than their more intently focused colleagues. The study even gives screwing around an official name: Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing, or WILB for short. It estimates about 70 percent of workers take part in some form of WILB during their days.

“Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos, using social networking sites or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity,” the study’s author says. “That’s not always the case.”

The reason WILB is good (aside from its fun-to-pronounce acronym): It helps the mind reset, the study claims, and allows an employee to better focus when he or she returns to the actual tasks at hand.

Oh, but wait: The findings only apply for those who spend less than 20 percent of their workday engaged in WILB.

So much for my newfound status as employee of the month. It was a good run while it lasted.

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