The use of online social media for personal use during working hours can have a detrimental effect on employees’ performance and the well-being of organisations, warn new research.
“Every day, more than one billion people worldwide use social media. This habit has also invaded the workplace, as some research reports that four out of five employees use social media for private purpose during work time,” said Cecilie Schou Andreassen from the department of psychosocial science at University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway. For the study, researchers questioned 11,000 Norwegian employees about their online activities while at work. “The overall finding is that this type of distraction has a negative effect on self-reported work performance,” Andreassen said.
In an earlier research, the same team found that attitudes and actual use of online social network sites for personal purposes during working hours are related to demographic (male sex, younger adults, single status, higher education), personality and work-related factors (fewer challenges and demands). “In addition, we found that accessibility of and policies prohibiting the personal use of such sites at the workplace can be beneficial for productivity,” Andreassen noted.
Employers typically fear financial loss due to employees’ cyber loafing. “Thus, research on this topic is important for organisations and their employees,” the authors concluded.