Workers' Social Media Distractions Cost Companies Millions

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 01:43 PM

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U.S. workers should step away from their iPads and Blackberrys and smartphones and get back to work, according to a study showing that employees’ preoccupation with social media and emails costs companies millions upon millions of dollars a year. In fact, such distractions, as well as poorly designed office technology that backfires instead of boosting production, can cost a company with 1,000 workers more than $10 million a year, according to a new survey reported in USA Today

facebook, workers, lose, millionsThe survey of 515 white-collar workers portrays a workplace culture in which employees snub their noses at the grindstone as they juggle personal interactions with their faces focused on Facebook, family demands, and work, says William Powers, author of the 2010 book “Hamlet's BlackBerry.”

More than half of U.S. workers waste an hour a day on interruptions, the survey found. Electronic devices and emails take the rap for 60 percent of the disruptions, while traditional distractions such as phone calls or jabber-jawing with colleagues account for the other 40 percent, according to the survey, which the software company Harmon.ie and polling researchers uSamp conducted
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"This technology is supposed to bring us together, but it makes us rude," Powers told USA today. "It's a wake-up call to be smarter about the devices we're on."

Another shocker: The average worker wastes 2.5 hours a week looking for documents he has misplaced in poorly organized electronic files.

Other studies have pinpointed similar findings, Powers said, but no study has determined whether businesses lose more productivity at work compared with gains from having employees linked up so they can use the technological devices to labor after normal business hours.


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