Managers ease restrictions on Facebook use

Summary:People are spending 50 percent more time on social-networking sites at work than they did two years ago, with the blessing of employers

Workers at UK businesses are spending 50 percent more time on social-networking sites than they did two years ago, but it is not affecting their productivity, according to a new report.

Managers are taking a more relaxed view of visits to sites such as Facebook, creating a happier work environment, according to the report released on Wednesday by security software provider Clearswift.

Social-networking use in businesses was at 11 percent in 2007, but the report revealed that 61 percent of UK companies are now encouraging and allowing the use of such web tools.

"[The] research shows evidence of a change of attitude and confidence when it comes to Web 2.0 in the workplace — from the 'stop and block' mentality that many businesses adopted in the early 2000s to an appreciation that Web 2.0 is good for business and should be implemented more fully," said Richard Turner, chief executive of Clearswift, in a statement.

The report focused on three areas: employee experience, productivity and barriers to adoption. The social-networking sites that were being used varied from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

"Social media networks are important for people to get in touch with each other when other things fail," said Ryan Joe, an associate analyst at Ovum. While sites such as Twitter are not fundamentally enterprise tools, they are ideal for businesses to use to keep in contact with consumers, he noted.

The research, which was conducted by Loudhouse for Clearswift, surveyed about 400 businesses in the UK, the US, Germany and Australia. It found the UK is still behind the US, which has a 74 percent adoption rate, and Germany, at 68 percent.

Clearswift's report is the first in a three-part series that will deal with different aspects of social media in the workplace.

Topics: IT Employment

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