Warning: Is Internet A Problem For Your Work Productivity?

Frederique Bros
on 17 May 2015

The annual Internet productivity survey of 3,000 Australians has been released for 2015. It reveals that that 52% of Australians communicate with their friends over the internet than in real life and 65% of Australians say they have been distracted from completing work by checking emails, browsing the web, and engaging with social media – an increase of 7% from one year ago.

Warning: Is the Internet A Problem For Your Work Productivity?

The independent benchmarking survey was released by Stop Procrastinating, the leading website blocker and productivity application.

Social Media

The survey found that people were more likely to spend time communicating with friends on the internet than a year ago, either through social media, such as Facebook or via an instant messenger, such as WhatsApp. 52% of respondents said they contacted friends via social media or instant messengers as their primary way to communicate, an increase of 4% compared with a year ago.

However, Australians were more likely to use social media and the internet to communicate with friends or set up social events at work than at home. 58% of those using social media and the internet in this way said they regularly used it to communicate at work, admitting that they had become distracted from work by it. This again was an increase from the last of 3%.

Work Distraction

Of the 65% of people who said they had been distracted at work, 35% said it cost them an hour a day browsing the internet at work to read an interesting article, book a holiday or a cultural event, or visit amusing internet video websites. This was an increase of 4% from last year. Some 6% of respondents admitted to taking a smartphone or tablet into the toilet to stream a TV programme they couldn’t wait to watch, suggesting a worrying lack of impulse control.

The survey also found that 52% of people thought that checking their emails and social media while trying to get work finished revealed a worrying lack of impulse control. 

64% said they lost their chain of thought because they checked and responded to an email or social media alert while they were working on a report or longer piece of written work.


Over 38% of parents in the survey were also more likely to be worried about their children’s use of the internet than last year, claiming that they didn’t know for sure what their children were doing on the internet. This was an increase of 7% from last year’s survey.

Other findings from the survey included 56% of respondents admitted that the reduction in productivity caused them dissatisfaction and unhappiness. 


Will Little, who designed and created Stop Procrastinating, says: “As usage of the internet increases so does its presence in every part of our lives at work and at home. We now no longer distinguish between when we should book a holiday, contact a friend or do some personal research. The internet is there all the time and we use it for personal reasons at work more often than ever before,”  he said. 

“It seems that being able to communicate with friends quickly over social media is a positive development, but engaging on social forums to debate issues, as some people in our survey admitted, suggests that some people are becoming more distracted by the internet at work than they should. While the immediate sense of gratification might be high, over time our survey shows this leads to a lack of satisfaction as productivity levels drop and people begin to achieve less,’ he said. 

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

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