Washington: Bosses, take note! Do not fret if you see an employee using social media at work as it may mean that they are taking a mental break, a new US survey suggests.
Workers turn to social media for a range of reasons while at work, with taking a mental break being among the most common, according to the survey by Pew Research Centre. Today's workers incorporate social media into a wide range of activities while on the job. Some of these activities are explicitly professional or job-related, while others are more personal in nature, researchers said.
The survey asked Americans who are employed full- or part-time about eight different ways they might use social media while on the job and found that 34 per cent use it at work to take a mental break from the job. As many as 27 per cent use social media to connect with friends and family while at work, 24 per cent to make or support professional connections and 20 per cent to get information that helps them solve problems at work, the survey found.
Seventeen per cent of workers say they use social media to build or strengthen personal relationships at work. Some 14 per cent of workers have found information on social media that has improved their professional opinion of a
colleague; at the same time, a similar share (16 per cent) have found information on social media that has lowered their professional opinion of a colleague, researchers said. Younger workers are more likely than their older counterparts to say they have discovered information about a colleague on social media that lowered their professional opinion of them - but also are more likely than older workers to have found information that improved their professional opinion of a colleague, the survey found.
Some 23 per cent of workers aged 18 to 29 have discovered information on social media that improved their professional opinion of a colleague, researchers said. By comparison, just 12 per cent of workers aged 30 to 49 and 9 per cent of workers ages 50 to 64 have experienced this. Similarly, 29 per cent of these younger workers have discovered information that lowered their professional opinion of a colleague - 16 per cent of those aged 30 to 49 and 6 per cent of those aged 50 to 64 indicate that this has happened to them, the survey found.
Twelve per cent of employees each used social media to ask work-related questions of people outside their organisation, as well as to ask such questions of people inside their organisation, researchers said. The survey found that one-quarter of workers never use the internet for work-related tasks in the course of a typical day.