Many people associate internet surfing at work with counterproductivity. Fortunately, you shouldn’t worry about it, as a team of researchers from Florida and Israel didn’t associate with behavior with procrastination. Instead, they were more likely to link it to being bored at work.
What is cyberloafing?
The act of using the internet at work for non work-related issues bears the name of cyberloafing. This behavior is pretty common among employees nowadays, and they usually tend to blame themselves for wasting time instead of working. Employers usually condemn this behavior as an attack on workplace productivity, but it might not really be the case.
A team of researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Haifa decided to investigate cyberloafing. Instead of regarding it as counterproductive, they started exploring it as a possibility to combat boredom at work and the lack of tasks. Therefore, they devised a questionnaire they sent to 463 employees working at a US university.
By answering these questions, researchers were then able to assess the levels of boredom at the workplace. Also, the same questions covered the levels of cyberloafing that surfaced from the situation. This way, they found the behavior mainly arose whenever employees had relatively few things to do, which then resulted in boredom.
The behavior is not an attack on productivity, but rather a coping mechanism
Therefore, cyberloafing wasn’t an effect of their unconscious urge to be counterproductive. Whenever they didn’t feel engaged in their tasks and were given a low workload, they were more likely to waste their time on the internet than in other situations. This means that employers shouldn’t condemn their employees and, instead, look for other solutions.
The results place cyberloafing among coping mechanisms. This means it is quite a normal reaction to boredom and a lot less harmful that other activities that cut productivity levels. Now, researchers are willing to continue their investigation and see if this technique is a result of stress at the workplace.
If you want to read more about cyberloafing and the reasons behind it, the study in question can be found in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
Image source: PxHere