Web surfing for personal reasons during work hours could be more beneficial for both employees and employers than previously thought, according to a new book.

Saint Joseph’s University’s Dr. Claire Simmers and Dr. Murugan Anandarajan of Drexel University, both in Philadelphia, co-authored Personal Web Usage in the Workplace: A Guide to Effective Human Resources Management, which explores the constructive side of personal Web use.

The book cites better time management, reduction of stress, adding to skill sets and helping to achieve a balance between work and personal life as some of the advantages to using the Web for personal reasons while on the job.

“Personal Web usage in the workplace has a negative perception, especially among administrators who often see it as inefficient and creating a decrease in work productivity,” said Simmers.

In contrast, the book suggested personal Web usage could contribute to employees’ continuous learning by helping them stay current on world events and business news, as well as providing support for education gained through formal classes and professional associations.

The study conducted by Simmers and Anandarajan, one of several presented in the book, analyzed 316 surveys of employees who were either part-time M.B.A. students from a northeastern U.S. university, or one of three contacts of each student; all of them had Web access at work.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada