Social networking 'costs UK plc �1.38bn per year'

Use of social networking websites by employees at work is costing UK businesses £1.38bn each year in lost productivity, research by IT services firm Morse is claiming.

The survey of 1,460 UK office workers was commissioned by Morse and conducted by independent research company TNS.

Of 1,460 office workers surveyed, 57 per cent said that they used social networking sites during the working day for ‘personal use’. On average those people were spending 40 minutes on these sites each week, equating to just under a five-day working week being wasted each year by employees using social networking sites at work.

The time wasted could even be higher as the research also revealed that on average office workers think that their colleagues spend nearly an hour - 59 minutes - each day at work on social networking sites. This shows the ‘productivity strain’ that such online behaviour is having on businesses, the Morse report suggests.

When it comes to usage policies it is clear many businesses have some way to go, as of those surveyed 76 per cent said that their employer ‘hadn’t issued them with specific guidelines with regards to using Twitter’. Without enforceable guidelines and acceptable usage polices businesses are leaving themselves ‘wide open to a reduction in productivity, brand damage, and security risks’, Morse claims.

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