It’s no secret that employees go on social media at work. Employees are always connected to their smartphones and online profiles -- it’s not uncommon to take a mental break and take a peek at Facebook or Instagram or reply to a friend’s Snapchat of a cute cat with the sunglasses filter on (But can you blame them?).

Whether employees are checking their mobile phones or company computers for the latest updates, you really can’t stop them from checking their social accounts. We’re a society that’s addicted to (and heavily dependent on) our smartphones and the temptation is just too hard to resist during an eight-hour workday.

The pervasiveness of social media in the workplace speaks to how powerful habit-forming tech can be and provides communicators with better insight into how employees communicate at large.

Let’s see what recent studies are saying about exactly how prevalent social media is in the workplace.

Amount of Time Spent on Social Media

Based on the results of an online survey from Pew Research Center from 2016, 67% of respondents say they regularly check social media when they're on the clock.

The Snapchat cat is officially out of the bag.

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The amount of minutes employees spend on social media is not as scary as we would expect. 32% of respondents say they spend no time at all on social media at work, while 18% say they spend 0-15 minutes, and on the higher end of the scale 17% say they spend 15-30 minutes on social platforms.

Another social media at work report from Bambu by Sprout Social digs into when employees find time to use social media. Lunch time tends to be the most popular time for checking into social networks with 41% of workers logging in on their breaks. 40% say they check social throughout the day.

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But which networks are employees checking? It should come as no surprise that Facebook tops the list since everyone from your 12-year-old cousin to your grandmother has an account on the third most visited website in the world.

 

Why are employees checking social at work?

As it turns out, workers check their phones and social media accounts for a number of reasons — and it’s not necessarily to procrastinate. The biggest reason being to take a mental break from work, with 34% of respondents stating this as their #1 rationale.


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Other reasons why workers use social media on the job:

  • 27% want to connect with family and friends while on the job
  • 24% seek to make or support professional connections on social media
  • 20% to get information that helps them solve work problems
  • 17% to build or strengthen personal relationships with coworkers
  • 17% to learn about someone they work with
  • 12% to ask work-related questions of people outside their organization
  • 12% to ask such questions of people inside their organization


 

Social media at work isn't necessarily a bad thing

“In the end, a majority (56%) of these workers believe that using social media ultimately helps their job performance.”

After looking at all this data, this statistic can help internal communicators and CEOs can feel at ease about workplace productivity. Over half of workers believe that social media helps their job performance and a fair share even use social as a sort of personal engagement tool.

This is almost directly in opposition to the common misconception that social media in the workplace causes employees to waste time and because of that, should even be banned. In fact, the report shows that a whopping 77% of workers use social media at work, despite their organizations having policies in place that prohibit use.

Social media at work isn’t the end of productivity as we know it. There are a number of ways in which organizations can use social media to their advantage and leverage its powers, from social media breaks to expanding employees’ professional networks to bring in more business.

What we can’t help but notice from looking at this data is that anything that has the ability to get employee’s attention shouldn’t be ignored.

Social at work is here and it’s here to stay!

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How much time do you think your employees spend on social media? Does it matter to you as an internal communicator? Let me know what you think below!