If you fancy sneaking in a little web surfing at work, the place to head to is Finland. As a recent article in the Helsingin Sanomat points out, occasional surfing really isn't seen as a problem in the Finnish workplace.
Protected by their extraordinarily tight personal privacy laws (especially compared to American standards), Finns have simply adopted email and internet guidelines that allow workers to handle necessary online business. This reciprocated trust seems to work for both employees and management.
Unlike many other countries, Finnish employers are not allowed to monitor their employees' online activities. So instead of fighting the law, organizations have adopted practical solutions that allow employees to enjoy brief surfing periods and to take care of other needs, such as online banking.
According to data expert Petteri Järvinen, part of the reason for this workplace harmony is that employers understand that many employees use work laptops at home to finish off things or will still respond to work-email from home at night. If an employee is flexible with his or her free time, perhaps an employer should be a little more flexible with employees.
This seems like a wise way of thinking. A little bit of personal surfing time can help relieve pressure and break the routine of the typical workday. Rather than outlaw or punish employees, the Fins seem to have found the proper response to create a nice work-play balance.