Everyone wastes time online at their jobs. Can you really blame working folk for taking a moment out of their long boring days to online shop, or watch a funny YouTube video, or read their favorite Tumblr? For those feeling guilty for their online procrastination habits, a new study has proven that spending time, say, reading your favorite news site makes workers even better at their jobs, reports The Wall Street Journal's Rachel Emma Silverman. "Web browsing can actually refresh tired workers and enhance their productivity, compared to other activities such as making personal calls, texts or emails, let alone working straight through with no rest at all." But don't rejoice just yet by clicking over to check your Facebook account for the third time this morning, because for every study that finds the benefits of surfing the Web there's another that says it's a wasteful time suck.
Taking a minute to relieve your brain from boring work duty has its benefits, argues a study out of the National University of Singapore. Don J.Q. Chen and Vivien K.G Lim write in their paper, "Browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function." For you econ folks, it works like diminishing marginal returns: the more you work, the worse your end product--at some point you need to pause and refresh. Screwing around online has that power, explain the authors. When browsing the Internet, people "usually choose to visit only the sites that they like—it's like going for a coffee or snack break. Breaks of such nature are pleasurable, rejuvenating the Web surfer," researcher Dr. Lim told Silverman in an email.