Social media has high workplace cost

Just as social networking in the workplace begins to gain corporate acceptance, a new study has thrown a wet blanket over the trend

A calculator which measures the cost to companies of time spent by employees using social media has revealed that an average business with 52 employees loses as much as $US65,000 a year from non-work-related social media activity.

According to WebTitan’s social media cost calculator, workers using non-work-related social networking for just 20 minutes a day equates to paying out $65,000, or five per cent of the year’s wages overhead, for non-productive work time.

Employees accessing and using social media during work hours and its potential to reduce productivity has long been cited by some companies as the main reason they refuse to embrace the trend towards social media adoption.

Twitter has grown from 27 million Tweets per day in 2010 to 95 million — a 250 per cent increase. Facebook has grown globally from 350 million active users to 640 million — half of which log in daily. Other social media products such as Flickr, Wikipedia, YouTube and the new Google+, combined with access from mobile devices, shows just how pervasive social media has become.

According to global provider of enterprise-level email security solutions, SpamTitan Technologies, which markets WebTitan, finding a way to manage non-work browsing habits, including access to Facebook at work, Tweeting, watching YouTube videos or any of the numerous other social media activities that can distract employees in their daily working lives, is rapidly becoming a major challenge for companies.

Given the findings of its social media calculator, it maintains that social media in the workplace comes at significant cost and companies need to think about how to stop it getting out of control.

“With companies now using social media to market to customers, it is important that social media is flexibly managed as roles require it, and that the web filtering tool employed to do this is dynamic enough to keep pace with changes within the organisation,” said SpamTitan Technologies CEO, Ronan Kavanagh.

“In the past, companies just had to consider personal use of the telephone and subsequently email — now they have a minefield of internet-related access points to consider.”

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