Since the days of squawking modems and AOL trial-runs, the Internet has been credited with fantastic gains in workplace productivity — but what about counter-productivity?
For all its wonders, isn’t the technology equally responsible for countless daytime hours squandered scrolling through status updates and comment sections?
Research on whether office Internet access encourages procrastination is surprisingly mixed.
Last year, a University of Melbourne study found that nine-to-fivers who spent around a fifth of their workday browsing for leisure were actually more productive than those who didn’t.
According to Dr. Tim Pychyl, a time-management researcher at the University of Ottawa, it’s clear that for the procrastination-prone among us, the Internet is a beehive of distractions.
“If you get to a point where your use of the Internet is keeping you at your desk too long, or is interfering with relationships, or is causing you to miss deadlines, then that’s a problem,” he warns. You may be so busy self-Googling that you’re not even aware of it.
“When you’re at your computer, you feel like you’re working,” notes Generation Y career guide Lindsey Pollak. “So even if you’re playing on Facebook or online shopping, you can almost trick yourself into thinking you’re not procrastinating.”