Social networking costing UK businesses nearly £4m a day

Employers hit hard by lost productivity due to Facebook and Twitter et al.

Social networking

Social networking in the workplace is costing British businesses millions a day in lost productivity.

So claims new research from IT services company Morse, which surveyed more than 1,000 employees, 57 per cent of which admitted to using social networking services like Facebook and Twitter for personal use during the working day.

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On average, workers spend around 40 minutes a week getting paid to socialise online. That equates to a staggering 1.38 billion in lost productivity per year, or 3.8 million every single day.

Commenting on the figures, Morse consultant Philip Wicks said the nature of the survey meant this was a conservative estimate. "When someone is asked for their own use they say around 40 minutes a week, but when asked about their colleagues they say they say up to an hour a day. We have used the lower of those figures rather than the high point," he said.

And the cost to employers could be even higher than that. One in three surveyed said they had seen examples of sensitive company information being posted online. In addition, three quarters of those questioned claimed their company had yet to issue any guidelines at all on using Twitter, despite its rise to widespread prominence over the past year.

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"It is clear that businesses shouldn't turn a blind eye to their employees' use of social networks, and [should] instead look to formulate and enforce sensible usage policies," Wicks said.

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