A new study from Trend Micro shows that more workers around the globe are using social networks while in the office and on the clock.

The survey took a look at the habits of 1,600 Internet users from the U.S., UK, Germany and Japan and found that over the past two years alone, social web use in the workplace has risen from 19% to 24%. In Germany specifically, social media use at work saw a 10% increase.

It’s still unclear whether this gradual but significant rise is being used to drive our businesses ahead, or if we’re instead wasting our companies’ time and money — a distinction that’s especially important to managers concerned with network security and productivity issues.

For workers on laptops, these numbers are even higher — 8% globally and 14% in Germany. All told, almost a third of laptop users around the world will use social websites while at work.

A company’s size also seems to make a difference whether or not employees will use social sites while at work. Especially in the U.S. and Japan, workers at larger companies are more likely to stay off social networks — perhaps due to firewalling or other forms of restricted access. In the UK and Germany, however, employees at big companies are slightly more likely to browse the social web while at the office.

Of course, many IT and project managers are concerned about loss of productivity and compromised network security due to social media use on work computers. But this increase could also be due to the rise in social media marketing and other social-based multitasking tools as much as slacking off. Remember that, once upon a time, general Internet use at work was considered frivolous; now, most of us use at least some websites to do our work every day.

We might not be the best judges, though, since our jobs involve a lot of day-to-day social media use. What’s your workday like? Do you use social media for business purposes? Is there some gray area between true productivity and pure socializing? Or are you a Facebook-using slacker while at work?

Source: Forbes


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