Indulge your employees so they don’t mess up

…a new paper “Temptation at work” suggests that forbidding their employees from surfing the net could well be a counter-productive move.

Alessandro Bucciol from the economics departments at the University of Verona and the University of Amsterdam, Daniel Houser, a professor of economics at the George Mason University, Virginia and Marco Piovesan a research fellow at Harvard Business School, set out to discover whether, having been exposed to a forbidden temptation – such as surfing the net for personal use – employees’ productivity on subsequent tasks was reduced in any way.

In a series of experiments they discovered that participants who had been asked to resist temptation made more errors in later tasks. The academics say their findings have significant implications for workplace productivity.

They suggest that if employers ban the internet they should make it unavailable. If this is not possible or impractical then employees should be allowed a certain amount of time on the internet for personal use each day, much like regular coffee breaks.

The full paper, Harvard Business School Research Paper No. 11-090, can be found on the Social Science Research Network.

The full article is here.


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