Facebook cuts workplace productivity

Only a few months after one study found that Facebook users tend to get lower grades in college, another study has found that the social networking site might not be earning good grades in the workplace as well.

Companies that allow users to access Facebook in the workplace lose an average of 1.5 per cent in total employee productivity, according to a new report from Nucleus Research, an IT research company. The survey of 237 employees also showed that 77 per cent of workers who have a Facebook account use it during work hours. In Canada, the Ontario government is scrambling to deal with social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies  that are spreading like wildfire across the nation, particularly among the young.

And “some” employees use the social networking site as much as two hours a day at work, the study found. Nucleus Research did not say how many workers fit into that category, but did note that one in 33 workers surveyed only used Facebook at work.

Of those using Facebook at work, 87 per cent said they had no clear business reason for using the site.


“If your company is facing tight margins and low profitability, as many are now, then how can you accept any work distractions that drain your overall productivity?” asked Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research for Nucleus Research, in a statement. “While it won’t make you popular, restricting Facebook can reclaim lost productivity. If your profitability is say 2 per cent, this could be the difference between staying open or closing shop.”

In April, a study released by Ohio State University shows that college students who use Facebook spend less time studying and have lower grades than students who don’t use the popular social networking site. And which students were more likely to use Facebook? Well, they’re the future systems administrators and CIOs.

Facebook, which logged its 250 millionth user earlier this month, has been showing tremendous growth.

Last week, Nielsen Online reported that people spend more time on Facebook than any on other Web site. The study also noted that 87.25 million U.S. users visited Facebook from home and work during June, and each of those people spent an average of 4 hours, 39 minutes and 33 seconds on the site during the month. And early last month, Nielsen reported that Facebook saw a 700 per cent increase from April 2008 to April 2009 in the amount of time users were spending on the site.

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