James Surowiecki’s article in The New Yorker questions whether companies that restrict their employees access to the web actually have a detrimental effect on their productivity.
Over half of all companies block access to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Although this might seem reasonable, Surowiecki points to research that has found that strictly enforcing a ‘no web-browsing’ rule on people who usually spend large amounts of their time on the Internet can have a negative effect on their focus and motivation. Spending a large amount of energy trying to curb the temptation to update your profile or send a quick tweet means you are less effective completing that important spreadsheet or being courteous to potential customers.
Instead of stamping out web access completely and creating a tyrannical workplace environment, many sources suggest implementing ‘Internet breaks’, much like a coffee or cigarette break, allowing workers to spend a few allotted minutes online throughout the day.