The proliferation of social networking websites and online communication tools threatens to affect the productivity of workers in the UK, turning employees into so-called 'cyberloafers', according to new research.
Research from the Centre for the Study of Media Technology and Culture speculates that employees are spending an increasing amount of time using the internet for personal and social purposes during the working day, reports Online Recruitment.
According to reports more than 25 per cent of the nation's workers spend more than four hours a week using the internet for personal reasons, while almost five per cent spend more than 24 hours doing so in an average week.
Two of the main activities highlighted were online shopping and instant messaging, suggesting that many workers are using their time spending and chatting during the day. In total 80 per cent of employees surveyed agreed that using instant messenger made them less productive.
However, Michael K Hulme, director of the Study of Media Technology and Culture, argues that many employees allow work to intrude their personal time, meaning that using the internet for personal reasons during contracted hours is not necessarily impacting upon productivity.
The report highlights statistics showing that 55 per cent of workers do unpaid overtime.
Research from the Association of Technology Staffing Companies states that the growth of online social networking has led to a surge in demand for skilled web developers, with average pay up 26 per cent.