Bosses to try weaning workers off Facebook

Employers are encouraged to introduce 'Facebook breaks', so workers can get their daily fix.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

We’ve all been there: sneakily uploading our holiday snaps to Facebook while the boss isn’t looking. But this could soon be a thing of the past, if UK employers can be persuaded to introduce ‘Facebook breaks’ – an attempt to regulate the amount of time employees spend on social networking sites during working hours. Proponents have been trying to tell employers for months that these networks can actually be beneficial for their businesses – but as the likes of Portsmouth City Council will attest, you can have too much of a good thing...

According to Employment Law Advisory Services (which, believe it or not, advises people on employment law), employers are getting downright fed-up with employees’ social networking habits. And perhaps rightly so: some studies have suggested that UK plc could be losing millions of pounds every day as their staff fritter away hours on sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. In fact, says ELAS, the habit is so bad for companies’ health that it’s become like smoking – users are desperate for their next Facebook fix in the same way smokers long for their next nicotine hit. A bit melodramatic perhaps, but you get the point.

Some staff have taken drastic action and banned social networking sites altogether; one notable recent example was Portsmouth City Council, which discovered that staff were logging on to Facebook up to 270,000 times a month (fair enough, you might think). However, some employers might not want to resort to such draconian measures just yet. So as an alternative, ELAS suggests introducing two five-minute Facebook breaks a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon – much like a standard fag break, but less life-threatening – with anyone caught logging on outside these designated slots getting a rocket from HR.

Incidentally, further evidence of the pernicious influence of Facebook et al is provided today by boffins at the Cranfield School of Management, who reckon that ‘technology addiction’ among teenagers is ruining the quality of their English, innit. Apparently teenagers are forgetting how to use ‘real English’, opting instead to converse in ‘text speak’ (LOL). What’s more, internet use is turning our young into cheaters: 60% of the 11-18 year-old respondents admitted to inserting information straight from the internet into schoolwork, without so much as reading it.

So if UK plc thinks it has a problem now, it’s only going to get worse as these technology addicts enter the workforce. And if addiction really is the problem, maybe we’d be better off trying to wean people off it slowly, rather than making them go completely cold turkey in the office...


In today's bulletin:

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UK lags behind as leaders hide away
Bosses to try weaning workers off Facebook

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