Procurement · 12 June 2017

Why staff are shunning social media at work to take back control of technology

social media at work
Under a quarter of employees admitted to checking social media at work

As an employer, you might feel powerless in trying to limit the access of social media at work. However, new research has suggested mobile devices could be more of an enabler to a small business than a distraction.

In a new study of 1,200 UK employees, by job site CV-Library, over three-quarters said they never used social media at work.

For the minority who were inclined to check feeds and personal profiles, half would only do so for 15 minutes per day.

Meanwhile, 50 per cent of all respondents said they would never look at personal emails in contracted hours.

The findings implied workers were beginning to take back control of their work-life balance in a world of intense connectivity, and might come as a relief for small business owners with concerns over modern devices.

While over half of respondents admitted to using a smart phone at work, almost eight in ten said they never tended to personal tasks during working hours.

In a further demonstration of commitment by Britain’s workforce, 77.4 per cent wouldn’t procrastinate online or browse irrelevant websites at their desk.

Looking into steps taken by business owners to address access of social media at work, over two-thirds of workers said their employer had introduced measures to limit the use of technology.

For 22.6 per cent, this meant a blanket social media ban.

Commenting on diminished use of social media at work, Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said new technologies had created “increasingly blurred” lines between work and private lives.

“It is therefore very positive to see that professionals are being careful not to spend their working hours doing personal errands or making calls – drawing a more definitive line between their work and home life,” Biggins explained.

He added: “By putting simple rules in place, businesses can ensure that their staff are operating at maximum productivity during work hours, but that they are able to switch off and leave work behind at the end of the day.”

While staff were keen to put personal business to one side during working hours, almost nine in ten believed technology gave them added tools to help them complete tasks more effectively.

Some 30 per cent of respondents cited global reach as vital in reaching customers and clients, while 26.2 per cent benefitted from “real-time” communication with others. For 15.6 per cent, work was completed more efficiently thanks to access to better technology.

“It’s clear that technology is both important and useful to today’s professionals, enabling them to work remotely and connect with people all over the world,” Biggins added.

“That said, it’s important that workers stay focused when using these technologies. If you notice your workforce are becoming increasingly distracted by technology, it may be time to put some rules in place regarding personal usage. This way you can ensure that they remain focused at work, whilst also promoting a healthy work-life balance.”

Find out how to combat the social media hackers causing significant damage to small businesses

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.