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Employee Use of Social Media at Work (Infographic)

Posted by David Cammack on August 2, 2017

In the news it has often been reported that we are not as productive as we should be in the UK, based on the comparatively high number of people in work, and that there has been a “productivity gap” since the last recession. Is misuse of social media at work a factor in explaining this?

Have a look at our latest infographic below.

social media at work infographic

Transcript of infographic on misuse of social media at work:

1. How much of work time taken up per person in an average working day?

  • 32.8% none
  • 18.7% 1-15 mins
  • 17.2% 15-30mins
  • 12.3% 30-60mins
  • 9.6% 60-120 mins
  • 9.4% +120mins

(Source: Sprout Social https://getbambu.com/data-reports/downtime-to-work-marketing-report/)

2. When employees use social media at work

  • 41.4% during lunch
  • 40% intermittently throughout the day
  • 22.3% at the end of the day
  • 11.6% during toilet breaks
  • 6.4% when first arriving at the office
  • 4.5% other

(Source: Sprout Social https://getbambu.com/data-reports/downtime-to-work-marketing-report/)

3. Why employees use social media at work

  • 34% use social media while at work to take a mental break from their job
  • 27% to connect with friends and family while at work
  • 24% to make or support professional connections
  • 20% to get information that helps them solve problems at work
  • 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

(Source: Pew Research Center http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/06/22/social-media-and-the-workplace/)

4. Who is using it most:

  • 39 mins men
  • 25 mins women

(Source: http://www.williamfry.com/docs/default-source/reports/legal–16687881-v1-willaim-fry-employment-snapshot-2016—social-media-in-the-workplace.pdf?sfvrsn=6)

5. Employers with and without social media policies

  • 39% with
  • 61% without

(Source: http://www.williamfry.com/docs/default-source/reports/legal–16687881-v1-willaim-fry-employment-snapshot-2016—social-media-in-the-workplace.pdf?sfvrsn=6)

6. Impact of having a social media policy

  • 30% of workers whose companies have an at-work social media policy say they use social media while on the job to take a break from work, compared with 40% of workers whose employers do not have such policies.
  • 20% of workers whose employers have at-work social media policies say they use social media to stay connected to family and friends while on the job, compared with 35% of workers whose social media use is not regulated at work.
  • Only 16% of workers whose companies regulate social media at work say they use social media while working to get information that’s helpful to their job, compared with 25% of those whose workplaces have no such regulations

(Source: Pew Research Center http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/06/22/social-media-and-the-workplace/)

7. How employees view their use of social media

  • 56% of these workers believe that using social media ultimately helps their job performance
  • 22% believe that it mostly hurts
  • 16% feel that it doesn’t have much impact either way
  • 4% see both the benefits and the drawbacks.

(Source: Pew Research Center http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/06/22/social-media-and-the-workplace/)

8. The cost of social media use at work

This equates to a cost per employee per year in wasted wages of:

  • 32.8% none               cost = none
  • 18.7% 1-15 mins      cost = up to £1,019.50
  • 17.2% 15-30mins    cost = up to £2,039
  • 12.3% 30-60mins   cost = up to £4,078
  • 9.6% 60-120 mins  cost = up to £8,156
  • 9.4% +120mins       cost = over £8,156

Averaged this is a cost of £2,592.60 per employee per year.

Multiplied by 30,645,000 employees in the UK, this is an annual cost to employers of £79,450,227,000, i.e. nearly £80 billion.

Factoring in lost productivity, this would cost even more. 8.13% of the working week is being lost on average. 8.13% of GDP is £185,884,320,000, i.e. nearly £186 billion in GDP lost every year to the UK.


  • The cost per employee per year is based on a 2012 government report (NICE’s Workplace Health report – Local government briefing [LGB2] Published date: July 2012; on NICE’s recommendations for local authorities and partner organisations on improving workplace health), using an average hourly rate of pay of £17.00 (£15.52 in 2012 increased by the increase in average weekly pay from 2012 to 2017), a national average week of 39.1 hours, a 5-day week and a 48-week working year.
  • 30,645,000 people employed in the UK in late 2016.
  • £2,286,400,000,000 GDP for UK in 2015.)

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