Monday, April 6, 2009

Social Media is Good for Business

People who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not, according to a recent University of Melbourne study that I read about on ReadWriteWeb.

According to the study of 300 workers, 70% of people who use the Internet at work engage in Workplace Internet leisure browsing (WILB) a term coined by study author Dr. Brent Coker.

People who do surf the Internet for fun at work - within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office - are more productive by about 9% than those who don't," said Dr. Coker. It helps to sharpen workers' concentration

Lest anyone think the study is suggesting a lot of internet surfing at work, the survey did report the obvious. Coker said those who behave with Internet addiction tendencies will have a lower productivity than those without.

Is this useless information? Or should companies take some of it to heart?

There are plenty of companies out there that block employees’ access to Facebook, MySpace and other social sites. Certainly, unblocking these sites is not going to solve productivity issues.

However, as more companies integrate enterprise 2.0 and social media solutions into the workplace, it may behoove them to bear these study results in mind. Certain tools, such as enterprise wikis for online collaboration and knowledge management, can allow employees to incorporate a bit of their personality and self-expression within the confines of a ‘corporate’ environment. So during their WILB time, employees can interact online with colleagues, share news and information, and give their brains a little rest before they start working again more productively.

More and more enterprise tools are incorporating social-media elements. Maybe these engineers have known this whole time!

Hear the full audio interview or watch an interview with Dr. Brent Coker.

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