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Twitter and Facebook costs businesses £1.38m

57% of employees use social networks at work

Twitter and Facebook are costing UK businesses £1.38m a year in lost productivity, says Morse.

Research by the IT services and technology company revealed that 57 percent of all UK employees use social networks for personal use during the working day. Morse says on average they spend 40 minutes per day social networking, which equates to almost one full working week a year.

"The popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook has grown considerably over the last couple of years, however with it has come the temptation to visit such sites during office hours," said Philip Wicks, a consultant at Morse.

"When it comes to an office environment the use of these sites is clearly becoming a productivity black hole. It is clear that businesses shouldn't turn a blind eye to their employees' use of social networks, and instead look to formulate and enforce sensible usage policies."

Furthermore, a third of UK office workers said they had seen sensitive company information posted on social networks, and 76 percent revealed their employer hadn't issued with guidelines regarding use of Twitter.

More than four in five also said they were worried they might be clicking on a link to an unsecure website by following links posted on social networks

Morse said that without guidelines and usage polices businesses are leaving themselves wide open to a reduction in productivity, brand damage and security risks.

"After years of preaching the security dangers of clicking on unknown emails and websites, employees can unintentionally be letting their guard down when it comes to clicking on links from the likes of Twitter and other social networking sites.," added Wicks.

"It is important that businesses do their best to protect themselves by reiterating the dangers. However, if implemented correctly, the use of social networks can help facilitate closer ties with employees and customers. Therefore, businesses need to strike the right balance between engagement and productivity when it comes to employee usage."

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See also: Five ways to boost your business with Twitter

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