And Lynsey Woolley, from our Employment Law Team, says such time wasting could cost businesses dearly unless they take action.
“It’s vital that employers tackle this issue as soon as possible, because social networking sites are only expected to grow in number. If your company fails to act, productivity will drop, and it could cost your business a great deal of money.”
Lynsey said the figures revealed in a poll by MyJobGroup.co.uk also showed that idling on social networking websites was costing British industry around £14 billion every year.
“The social networking phenomenon has really taken off in the last few months, and more and more people are relying on it as their preferred method of communicating with friends and colleagues. Employers must ensure they make their staff fully aware of what is and is not acceptable during work hours and on their company computer or phone.
“Suggest that they try to restrict their time on these websites to their lunch hour or breaks, and that anyone found spending excessive amounts of time online during the working day will face disciplinary action.”
Lynsey said it was also wise for employers to monitor just exactly what their staff were posting online.
“If it’s left unchecked, you could find that social networking is not only reducing productivity, it could also lead to confidential information being posted. And look out too for any derogatory comments being made by your employees about the company, your staff or even your customers, because once they’re online, the comments will be there for everyone to see.”