Go Ahead, Goof Off!

Sneaking a peek at your iPhone or checking in on Facebook for personal reasons is legitimately frowned on in many a workplace, but new research out of Australia implies when employees delay such personal tasks they actually don’t get as much accomplished.

While a day spent surfing the web or texting your best friends may not exactly endear anyone to the boss (or leave you poised for promotion) researchers at the University of South Wales suggest that going off task now and then to indulge personal whims is actually a good way to stay productive.

In a whimsical experiment, researchers informed a group of test workers about humorous video, but insisted they refrained from it while working on other assignments. They let another group of subjects access the video in the middle of a similar project. They then assessed how both groups of workers did performing specific assigned tasks throughout the day.

They found the workers who were forced to delay gratification actually ended up not performing as well on their regular work throughout the day.

The researchers noted that their findings seem to have many practical applications for modern work environments  including, perhaps, letting the work crew goof off every now and then.