Merely wanting to use the Internet can lower productivity at work

Credit: Image via The American Worker

Where or not you've seen the statistics, you've probably figured out that personal Internet usage at work is one of the leading ways folks waste time on the clock. What you probably didn't know is being told not to use the Internet for personal use can also lead to poor performance and wasted resources.

This makes a lot of sense, considering that exerting willpower to delay gratification has been proven to have a negative impact on what you're doing in the present. Still, most employers probably aren't considering this fact when they create such directives.

Researchers asked 60 subjects to watch a video in which eight people passed around balls of various colors. The subjects were then asked to count the number of times a specific ball was passed about. They received some dough for getting the answers right, and they got a little less cash (but cash nonetheless) for being close.

After doing this three times, the subjects were split into two groups. The lucky group got to watch a funny video for ten minutes. The other group were given a screen with a button to start the same video, but they were asked not to push it. They could, though, hear the first group enjoying the video.

After this, there were more counting tasks. Those who were asked not to watch the video makes mistakes three times larger than those who got to watch it sans directive.

Which leaves an interesting issue for employers: do you let your team use the Internet willy-nilly, do you limit it to small breaks or do you just take it away completely (if that's realistic) to kill temptation?

Via Phys Org

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