August 5, 2010

Social media – in combination with overly chatty office workers – may be costing the UK billions in productivity, according to the results of a new study.  Indeed, determined after contacting 1,000 workers that up to

£14 billion worth of work time is spent on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

This isn’t the first occasion we’ve heard such claims, of course, and there are lots of counterarguments.  Consider: would someone who plays FarmVille for 45 minutes every afternoon really be a go-getter if Facebook didn’t exist?  Also, it’s necessary to remember that many people use social media to network and promote things professionally.

Still, MyJobGroup came up with some interesting stats.  (And we should note that MyJobGroup is a network of regional job sites, not a company that hawks productivity software and would be more likely to approach this subject with a bias.)

In an official statement, the organization reported, "[M]ore than half (55 per cent) of the UK’s working population now accesses social media whilst at work, with a third of those (roughly six million) spending more than 30 minutes on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Myspace."

Also, "[N]early 6 per cent, or two million, of the UK’s 34 million-strong workforce spent over an hour per day on social media whilst at work, amounting to more than one eighth of their entire working day."

So get ready for more crackdowns on social media usage at work, along with another round of justifications concerning the practical uses of Facebook and Twitter.