With the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter it seems that, for many people, there is an ever present temptation waiting in their work place. It is not unusual for offices to deny access to these web pages in order to save the time that might otherwise be wasted on them.
Some studies have shown that social networking can be beneficial to the user. However, this is for those people who are disciplined enough to take a “short break” to surf the web. It is typically after completing a long assignment, and is usually for only 5 to 10 minutes. While it might be relaxing, most employees cannot limit themselves to this type of practice, and waste many valuable hours chatting and sending personal messages. Activities such as responding to messages, looking at photos and writing status updates are rarely relevant to work, however interesting they might seem. Behavior such as this is not acceptable in a business environment, and can be grounds for disciplinary action. In worst case scenarios, people are actually being terminated because they can’t break their fascination with social networking.
Many people using social networking convince themselves that they are simply taking a short break – even one that can last for one full hour. This is not the proper behavior for anybody employed by a reputable business. Furthermore, by switching from a productive task and then back again, the worker must approach each task afresh, breaking their concentration and their engagement with their work. Even in a social capacity, networking sites can be a waste of time. If you are adding people as friends who you will never communicate with or looking at events you will not attend, then you are wasting your own free time. This is even worse in a work context, and detracts from productivity. Companies need to monitor their employees’ working habits during the day, in order to deter negative behavior and to ensure that targets continue to be met.
Social networking can be an enjoyable use of leisure time, but if it is not business related, it should not be explored during the working day.
Images: Franco Bouly