A lawyer has issued a plea to the West Midlands workforce after research revealed the average Briton spends 1.5 hours per day browsing social networking sites when they should be working.
Kate Jones, an employment specialist at Midland law firm MFG Solicitors, has spoken out following the study of 1,000 UK office workers by money-saving website Voucher Codes Pro. The poll also highlighted the most common time for people logging into sites such as Facebook and Twitter during the working day is between 10am – 11am and 3pm – 4pm.website Voucher Codes Pro. The poll also highlighted the most common time for people logging into sites such as Facebook and Twitter during the working day is between 10am – 11am and 3pm – 4pm.
Ms Jones believes thousands of the region’s workers could be risking their careers by not only logging onto social networking sites at work, but also by posting derogatory comments or images which could be used in evidence against them.
She said: “The vast majority employers across the West Midlands are now well tuned into social media sites and that spells danger for workers who are using social networking unreasonably during office hours.
“People forget that there is nothing to prevent employers accessing sites to check any comments, the time of posts or to see if staff are breaking their internet policies. That can lead to disciplinary action for breaching Company policies, misbehaviour or for expressing hard line views employers don’t wish to be associated with.
“This latest research shows that more than ever, employees need to take a common-sense approach to the comments, photographs or videos they upload onto social networks and ensure they closely guard any conversations that they would not wish for their employers to see. It also clearly highlights why spending time on social networking sites shouldn’t be done during the working day and why workers must be careful to separate their online private lives from the office.”
Ms Jones also gave a warning to people who are seeking work. She added; “It isn’t just people who are in employment who should be guarded. I have seen examples over the past few months of people being turned down for jobs after prospective employers carried out simple searches on Facebook and found the candidates to be unsuitable.
“Due to the recession we have a very competitive job market here in the Midlands and I am sure anyone who has had a successful interview would be devasted to be turned down at the final hurdle due to an ill-thought out comment.”
Ms Jones, who advises workers across the region on a variety of employment matters, concluded; “The number of adults who regularly use Facebook in the UK now stands at almost 40 million. That’s a growing number and certainly includes people across the Midlands – people who are potentially putting themselves in career threatening positions by flouting employer’s online policies.
“It’s hard to switch off but I urge workers to try and change their daily online habits and think of the potential consequences of having their heads in social media rather than work.”
The Voucher Codes poll also found that 46 per cent of UK workers blamed ‘ease of discreet’ access to the internet at work as the main reason for using social media during the working day.
Workers interested in discussing the subject further with Ms Jones can call 0845 55 55 321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org