Workplace Distractions: Social Media & the Internet

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Did you know the internet could be costing you £1,890 per employee every year? This is just one of the interesting figured we’ve uncovered in our investigation into the effects of social media and the internet on workplace productivity. Find out how to manage social media and internet usage to increase your employee’s work performance and reduce this unnecessary cost.

The internet as a distraction

Have you ever caught an employee surfing the net with a mountain of paperwork stacked on their desk? Of course you have, we all have. An incredible 64% of employees admit to viewing non-work related websites every day, showing that it’s a common problem.

workplace distractions

Each of your employees are distracted for an hour every day. Half of this time is spent browsing the internet. The average UK office salary is £26,500. By wasting just 30 minutes, each of your employees could be costing you £1,890 every year. Is this something you can afford?

Social Media at Work

Social media websites are the most common source of online workplace distractions. As you may expect, more than ¾ of your workforce will access their social media accounts while at work. What we find surprising is that 1 in 33 employees only access their social media accounts while at work.

Banning Internet Access & Social Media

With so many employees spending work time on social media, there’s no wonder why so many companies (54% of those surveyed by Computerworld) have banned social media websites in the workplace.

Because we offer a social media marketing service, a ban would certainly do more harm than good in our office.

We encourage companies to create a social media policy for their employees. It will clearly outline the company’s rules and expectations as well as the employee’s responsibilities. If you don’t have one yet, you’re not alone. A surprising 76% of companies are in the same position.

Employee’s using their Smart Phones for Social Media

If you’re still considering banning social media, and possibly using internet usage monitoring software, here are a few things to think over. Facebook alone has 189 million mobile users. How many of your employees do you think use Facebook on their phones?

The mobile phone is a massive distraction in itself and more than half of the UK workforce recognises that their mobile phones have a negative impact on productivity. In this case, trying to remove one distraction will just encourage an even worse one.

social media notifcation

What about giving them full Access?

Many studies show that internet access and freedom increase job satisfaction, which in turn increases productivity. But does that mean giving your employees full online access is right for your company?

We don’t think so. And in the survey by Computerworld (as mentioned earlier), full internet access was actually identified as harmful, by reducing work productivity by 1.5%.

So where’s the Balance?

For years, HR experts have encouraged companies to allow short breaks throughout the day. It started with cigarette breaks, then coffee breaks, should employees just be given personal breaks instead? 7 out of 10 employees believe that short breaks throughout the day help them to focus and increase work productivity.

We recommend allowing employees to have 2 10 minute breaks every day. During these breaks they can attend to their personal errands, check their social media accounts and get a coffee. This lets them recharge their batteries and complete tasks that would otherwise distract them, allowing them to focus on work.

By doing this, you’ll make significant savings. Instead of each employee costing you £1,890 every single year, you’ll invest £630 into improving employee morale. By showing an understanding of your employee’s needs, you’ll also benefit from greater job satisfaction. Not to mention the saving of £1,260 by cutting the time they waste online.

Using Social Media to improve Workplace Productivity

Encouraging your employees to use social media can actually benefit your business. Simply by asking them to engage with your company profile, you can reach a significantly larger audience. Ask them to complete, in full, their employment information and to share your business’s content.

If you want to take social media in the workplace to a new level, Facebook at Work allows you to develop an internal social media platform. Not only does this satisfy your employees need to be on social media, but it can also be a powerful tool in employee management. It can be used for internal communications and to encourage collaborative projects.

We developed our series of workplace distractions articles to help you manage your employees and increase productivity. You can view the complete series here. We’ve covered how important it is to manage workplace distractions; how emails may be costing your company; and why employee socialising may actually boost employee productivity. This will help you reduce your operating costs. If you want to make even more profits, please consider contacting our digital marketing team. 

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