Friday, August 31, 2007

Cyberslacking Anyone?

Ever checked Facebook at your workplace? Sure you have. Think your employers don't know? Think again. A report by CNN Student News reveals that some employers in Great Britain are concerned about the amount of time being spent on social networking sites. "Cyberslacking" is what they are calling it. In addition to routine e-mail checks from family and friends and searches for updated news on the Michael Vick case, people are checking their Facebook and MySpace accounts too. Social networking sites have become so addictive that people simply can not resist checking their accounts while at work. As a frustrated government employee, I can attest to the social networking addiction, as I do not have the luxury of accessing my Facebook account while at work. I once thought restriction would cure me of my addiction, but anxiety only heightens after I check my e-mail and learn that a friend has "replied to a thread" on Facebook. The U.S. Federal Government prohibits access to such sites just as some major companies in the UK have begun to do because they fear employees are wasting all of their time on the Internet. If companies haven't began worrying yet, they may start after reading evidence reporter Chris Choi of ITV News found on Facebook:
I worked 7.5 hours; at least 5 were on Facebook.

I'm supposed to be reading reports for work; here I am on Facebook.
I know how much time Facebook and the like consume. How long do you think it will be before U.S. major companies ban access to these sites or have they already? How much time do you spend on social networking sites while at work? Too much? The report says bosses fear that "raising this issue will just give workers something else to chat about online tomorrow." Well, I'm glad they're catching on.

1 comment:

Lindsey Loughman said...

I was listening to the BBC podcast for 8/30 and one of the stories was about whether or not social networking sites should be banned from the work place.

One hand they had Tim Cambell former winner of the British version of the Apprentice who reasoned, that social networking sites lead to loss of productivity. He had this great quote that speaks the hard economics of the situation: "I can't see many of our Chinese competitors sittin' doin' their Facebook while they're actually supposed to producing output"

On the other hand, there was Sara Veal from trade union body the TUC (Trade Union Congress)
"People need to have a bit of chill time at work, and a good employer can managee that sort of process-- make sure that it doesn't get out of hand ... I think that you have to accept when people are working hard they should be allowed to have time to relax and that will make them more productive when they get back to the job an hand," said Veal.

To me this kind of argument went back to the kinds of networking that they talk about in the Cluetrain Manifesto . In particular the theme that employee are people not just just interchangeable parts to the machine, and people need to be social in order to really succeed.

Maybe I'm biased but I'm for any opportunity to be social in workplace.