Social Media in the Workplace: Digital Distractions Cost Money

The impact of social media on business, retail and with marketing has been huge over the last few years and it seems that we’re often writing about how social media can help brands and services. However there are also some drawbacks of social media in the workplace as you may be surprised how much these digital distractions cost.

It’s so easy now to have your attention drawn away from work by email, messages, and sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and many employers are becoming increasingly concerned by how much it’s costing their businesses. A recent survey by harmon.ie, showed that productivity lost per employee each year amounts to $10,375. Over 500 employers in the U.S. were involved in the survey and in businesses with more than 1000 employees, these diversions from work can cost a staggering $10 million every year, according to Jolie O’Dell over on Mashable.

Whereas once it was trips for refreshments and senseless meetings that wasted time at work, now the number one distraction is email processing (23%), with other distractions including personal use of social sites such as Facebook, instant messaging and texting. One interesting insight is that almost 50% of those involved in the study said that they only worked for 15 minutes or less without being sidetracked and over 50% said they wasted around one hour each day with these distractions.

Harmon.ie co-founder and CEO, Yaacov Cohen, pointed out the irony of this by saying, “Information technology that was designed at least in part to save time is actually doing precisely the opposite. The very tools we rely on to do our jobs are also interfering with that mission. We’re clearly seeing what psychologists call ‘online compulsive disorder’ spill over from our personal lives to the work environment.” It’s certainly interesting to see another side of social media in the workplace and we wonder if you’ve noticed the impact in your workplace? Let us know with your comments.