Employers watch Facebook usage

The fear of excessive use of online social networking sites at work will cause two-thirds of employers to monitor or limit internet access in the next six months, research shows.

An in-depth study of more than 220 senior HR professionals by law firm Charles Russell in conjunction with Personnel Today found that 69% of companies are seeking more control over internet use. Employers worry that staff are wasting time on websites during the day, weakening productivity and increasing security risks to the company by sharing data externally.

Thirty-five per cent of respondents to the March 2008 survey see a need to set up a separate blogging and social networking policy to ensure a code of conduct on visiting sites like Facebook is adhered to.

One employer said: “[My main concern is] abuse of the system during working hours, inappropriate messaging and breach of the company’s code of conduct.”

Another said: “E-mail usage is upped. This slows down the server and means staff are not working.” But some HR directors warned a total ban would harm employee engagement.

“Treating our employees like adults allows us to have open discussions about how to balance work and social during working hours. Setting out rules would prompt people to look for ways to circumvent them and restrict potential innovation,” one participant said.

Networking or not working?personneltoday.com/42102.article

What do employers think?

  • 50% would restrict personal internet use to lunch times
  • 33% would consider a total ban
  • 70% would consider disciplinary action if they discovered inappropriate photos on social networking sites that identify the employer
  • 25% would use searches of social networking sites as a recruitment tool
  • 90% do not search social networking sites for inappropriate comments

Source: Charles Russell/Personnel Today

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