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Do Social Networking Sites Lower Productivity Levels?

Does your company belong to the population that allows access to social networking sites?

According to Nucleus Research, in a survey of 237 employees, 77% of the workers who have a facebook account use it during working hours. And a percentage of this 77% use the social networking site as much as two hours a day at work.

Of those using facebook at work, 87% said they had no clear business reason for using the social networking site.

Also, a study released by Ohio State University showed that a number of college students who uses facebook spends less time studying, hence, gets lower grades compared to those who don’t use facebook at all.

If college students are already affected this way (hello, they’re juggling a number of subjects per semester), how much more are people on the professional environment. right?

A few others debunk this myth though, stating that social networking sites actually have an opposite effect: It even increases productivity levels.

This is applicable for knowledge workers — or people who are tasked with transforming ideas or products. For these kinds of workers, goofing off isn’t actually an enemy. In fact, regularly stepping back from their projects is essential to their success. This is where social networking sites come into play; because they are particularly well suited to energize those down creativity levels.

You see, people aren’t designed to maintain a constant focus on assigned tasks. They need periodic breaks to relieve the conscious mind the pressure of performing – the pressure that can lock us into a single mode of thinking, a process that creativity researchers call as ‘incubation’ period.

Authors of a landmark text when it comes to psychology and neuroscience of creativity called ‘Creativity and the Mind’ have observed that people are more successful in creating solutions for problems if they were forced to move away or were temporarily distracted.

A study by Australian scientists found that by taking time to visit websites of personal interest, including news sites and youtube provided workers a mental break that ultimately led to the increase in their concentration once they got back into working mode; and had a 9% increase when it comes to productivity.

In my opinion, people should be allowed to use networking sites at work, however; should definitely make sure that they spend less than 20% of their working hours in those social networking sites or websites of interest.

I mean, if you do feel that it increases your productivity and makes you go the extra mile when it comes to working, why not right?

If social networking sites are banned in your workplace, don’t worry about it: treat this as an opportunity to discover other things in the internet. Sites such as news articles of heroic animal deeds (believe me, it does not get old at all), celebrity news, etc.

But guys: do make sure that you do cater to your personal creativity breaks in moderation. Everything that is beyond what is moderate is still bad.

So reward yourself with a break, and keep being worth or even more than the money your company is paying you for.