Friday, August 07, 2009

Facebook Use at Work...Does It Help or Hurt?

An independent study by Nucleus Research finds that companies that allow access to Facebook lose an average of 1.5% in total employee productivity. Nearly half of employees in the study, and 77% of those with an account, use Facebook during work hours, with some employees using Facebook as much as 2 hours per day while at work. One in 33 employees use Facebook exclusively while at work.

To explore the business productivity impact of Facebook, Nucleus interviewed 237 randomly selected office workers about their use of Facebook and found:
  • 77% of workers have a Facebook account.
  • Of those workers with Facebook accounts, nearly two-thirds access Facebook during working hours
  • Those who access Facebook at work do so for an average of 15 minutes each day
  • 87% of those who access Facebook at work couldn't define a clear business reason for using it
  • Of those who do access Facebook at work, 6% never access Facebook anywhere else, meaning one in every 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work hours

It is interesting to note that, says the report, of the 13% of users that had a business reason for accessing Facebook, most were not using it for personal networking but to promote a business, product, event, or fan site to Facebook users, and Facebook was just one component of an overall marketing strategy. None of the users had measured the comparative effectiveness of Facebook over other marketing strategies.

The average employee who accesses Facebook at work uses it for 15 minutes each day, with a low of one minute and a high of 120 minutes per day.

Beyond its impact on productivity, the Nucleus study also uncovered the growing use of Facebook as an alternative e-mail platform. Traditional e-mail and even personal accounts like gmail can be monitored by corporate IT, while Facebook messages are not. For organizations that have invested in security software to secure sensitive information and limit their transmission via e-mail, the use of Facebook can help users circumvent those controls, opening up the potential to violate corporate communication policies, concludes the report.

The report concludes that "companies need to understand the cost in productivity from accessing these sites." Of those using Facebook at work, 87% could not define a clear business reason for accessing the site. Further, the analysis reveals potential security concerns through email, as most organizations do not monitor and manage Facebook as closely as email, creating an opportunity for Facebook users to circumvent controls and violate corporate communications policies.

For additional detail, please access the PDF file here, or the release here.

Source: Center for Media Research

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