Over half of Irish office workers admit they use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter at work. Meanwhile red-faced chiefs believe these sites are an expensive distraction.
A study of the peninsula Ireland, the employment law consultancy, has revealed the extent of the problem of social networks in business.
It shows that 69pc of Irish businesses believe social networking sites are a nuisance.
“If social networking sites do not serve you, ban them,” Alan Price, Managing Director of the Peninsula. “We’re trying to fight our way through a recession and companies need to work focused.
“Employers should take a hard stance on the issue of social networks and their employees say they do not tolerate the use of such sites during working hours. The problem has existed for a while and employers recognize that they are having a negative impact on their business, but do nothing about it. ”
“Employers need to be proactive in addressing the issue and look at their policies and ensure that IT clearly states that employees will not use the site during working hours.
“Employers then need to make your staff fully aware of the disciplinary consequences, if they choose to ignore these policies. If companies are discovering that the sites are a problem, they have to put a complete ban on their use and access to blocked sites. ”
Price says many companies have become wise to the problem and have blocked access.
However, employees are using smartphones as a way to circumvent the ban and therefore he says, employers must be on guard.
“In many companies streamlining their operations to remain competitive during the recession, employers are working with the resources and strict mode productivity is the key.
“Employers should make staff aware of the situation and are left unclear what effect will it have to waste their time in the company. This should discourage the use of the sites during working hours.”
Price concluded: “Employers need to reassess their IT policies and ensure that explicitly prohibit the use of social networking sites. There is an argument for using social networking sites within some industries there are no no advantage for your business, you need to ban them.
“Be firm with the staff if you insist on access to sites during the workday and to demonstrate that the abuse of these resources will not be tolerated,” said Price.