Productivity on the wane as employees spend more time on Facebook and Twitter

A London-based social media expert has said there is no harm in companies banning staff from social networking sites during office hours.

Kate Bussmann said the question of forbidding workers from using sites like Twitter and Facebook at work should be at the discretion of the company.

She said: “If you want to have a blanket policy saying ‘don’t tweet during office hours, only at lunchtime and before and after work’ then that’s absolutely fine because that’s up to the business.”

Her comments come after a survey carried out by London-based money-saving website revealed that nearly half (47 per cent) of companies are concerned about the amount of time their employees are spending on their personal Twitter accounts while they are at work.

Bosses are worried that Twitter streaming programmes such as Tweet Deck, which provides continuous Twitter updates, has caused productivity to wane.

A official said: “A conservative estimate from our research would be, generally speaking, 20 minutes is lost per employee per day to Twitter. For a relatively small company with 30 employees this equates to a loss of 50 hours a week.”

Bussmann went on to warn companies that only tweeting about sales is not recommended social media practice and that such brazen promotional activity is likely to do more harm than good.

She added: “If it is someone who is running the Twitter feed on behalf of the business and all of the tweets are salesy then you’re going to have a problem as people find that annoying. It’s much more effective to balance it out and give it some personality and personality can sometimes equal personal.”

Meanwhile, the study also revealed that 63 per cent of employees admitted to looking at their personal Twitter accounts while in the office, but only 13 per cent admitted to spending more than 45 minutes a day doing so.

The study’s authors went on to speculate the the proportion of people that spend that length of time on Twitter while at work could be a lot higher.

The official said: “Nobody likes to admit that they are slacking at work, so this figure may be much higher. Therefore it is very difficult to place an exact figure on the amount of time the average worker spends on Twitter.”


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