Social media has well and truly hit the office according to our latest survey’s findings. In this connected age, when digital platforms have been accused of swaying the US election and the challenges posed by their regulation make the news every other day, it is unsurprising that Facebook, Twitter and their siblings have started to have a significant impact on our working lives. We were keen to explore their impact. 

We surveyed 1,000 UK workers on their use of social networks at the office, and here are our findings…

graph showing how much time office workers spend on social media

 

Only 33% of office workers use social media for less than 30 minutes a day according to those surveyed. In contrast, 4% of respondents have what look like excessive social media habits, spending over three hours a day on various digital platforms. The least surprising revelation is that a plurality of respondents fell within the 30 minutes to an hour range of social media use a day.  

Graph showing most popular social networks at the office

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly for the largest social network in the world, which boasts just over 2 billion monthly active users (nearly a third of the world’s population), Facebook comes out top in the competition for office workers’ hearts, beating out its professional networking cousin LinkedIn. The least used application is Snapchat, with only 4% identifying it as their most used social network at the office. 

 

graph showing productivity changes due to social media at the office

 

Of the 1,000 respondents to the survey, 34% of claim that social media use makes them more productive at work (and studies have shown that regular breaks can positively contribute to brain function and creativity) while 51% acknowledge that it makes them achieve less over the course of the working day. Interestingly, 6% said that they were over 30% more productive at work due to social media.

 

chart showing social media policy at work

 

It may be that company social media policies are yet to catch up with reality, with only 23% of respondents to our survey report being disciplined for their social media use despite 51% acknowledging that they were less productive at work because of it.

 

graph showing social media use with regard to colleagues in the office

 

840 of the 1,000 surveyed admitted that they had in fact ‘stalked’ colleagues on social media. If we do some back of the envelope calculation, if 11% of respondents claim to never use social media at work and 84% have already owned up stalking colleagues, that leaves only 5% who use social media who don’t check up on their colleagues.

Of that 84%, 68% say that they found something on social media that made them think less of a colleague. 

It’s clear that social media use at the office presents a challenge for managers and sometimes employees themselves. For management the issue is ensuring that social networks are an aid to, rather than a drag on, productivity. Part of the solution lies in clear and well communicated company policy on what constitutes appropriate social media use at the office in addition to social media training to advise on what’s acceptable to share. 

For employees and office workers, the lesson lies in acknowledging that if your colleagues and your manager are able to access and follow your social life through the internet (and 84% admit that they do) and make character evaluations based on the information they find there (and 68% admit that they do) then you have to be aware of what you share and how public your profile is.