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Social sites may pose threat to productivity

Social networking sites such as Facebook are becoming so popular that they are now posing a threat to the productivity of workers and could be costing UK businesses as much as £132 million a day in lost time.

Employment law firm, Peninsula, says that as much as 233 million hours are lost a month due to workers wasting time on social networking sites such as Facebook. Peninsula says that many workers will spend up to two hours a day on the site when they should be working. It says that this will end up costing employers £30.8 billion every year if usage continues to grow at its present rate.

In a separate statement, business consultancy Blue Orchid said that “firm controls are necessary to prevent horrendous amounts of staff time being wasted on Facebook and other websites.”

Major firms such as Lloyds TSB, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse have all banned the use of Facebook within the workplace recently. Earlier reports in The Daily Telegraph had estimated that Facebook membership was increasing by 10,000 per day in the UK, with 1.8 million people using the site at least once a month.

Mike Huss, Employment Law Director at Peninsula, said: “Loss of productivity through social networks such as Facebook is proving to be a major headache and my advice would be for companies to block access.” He also pointed out that companies should have clear policies that tell workers what they can and cannot use the internet for during working hours. There are also concerns that use of social networking sites could open the door for hackers and cyber criminals.