Social networking sites 'costing businesses millions'

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The Independent Tech

Twitter and other social networking websites cost UK businesses more than £1.38 billion a year in lost productivity, a study suggested today.

A survey of nearly 1,500 office workers found 57% used the websites during the day for personal use.

The research, commissioned by IT services and technology company Morse, showed the employees spent about 40 minutes a week viewing the pages.

Based on the average wage of an office worker, this cost firms £1.38 billion a year, Morse said.

"The popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook has grown considerably over the last couple of years. However, with it has come the temptation to visit such sites during office hours," said Philip Wicks, a consultant at Morse.

"When it comes to an office environment, the use of these sites is clearly becoming a productivity black hole."

He added: "It is clear that businesses shouldn't turn a blind eye to their employees' use of social networks, and instead look to formulate and enforce sensible usage policies."

The study found 76% of those surveyed had not been issued with specific guidelines relating to the use of Twitter.

"Without guidelines and usage policies businesses are leaving themselves wide open to a reduction in productivity, brand damage and security risks," said Mr Wicks.

In September, it emerged Portsmouth City Council had banned its staff from using the social networking site Facebook after it was revealed that workers visited the website an average of 413 hours a month.

:: The survey of 1,460 office workers was conducted by independent research company TNS.

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