Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Social networking plagues India Inc

Companies See 12.5% Daily Productivity Loss, Says Survey
Chittaranjan Tembhekar | TNN

Mumbai: Social networking sites like Facebook are a veritable Aladdin’s cave offering bored employees a chance to try their luck at farming (Farmville), word games and following their friend’s recent trek to the Himalayas. With people Facebooking, twittering and chatting during office hours either on their computers or via the latest ‘app’ on their touch-screen cellphones, corporates across the country are losing the internet battle.


   93% of the youngsters surveyed said they were aware of social networking sites. Facebook and Orkut were the most popular online destinations
   60% said that they spend around 40-50 minutes a day on such sites
   40% said that they spend an hour of their office time networking online
   15% of corporate employees surveyed admitted that they share information with colleagues on social networking sites
73% between 45 and 58 years spend more than an hour on the internet, mainly to access news
Four out of every 10 workers built their Orkut or Facebook profile at work
Around 83% saw nothing wrong in surfing at work during office hours
Nearly 84% of respondents showed signs on internet addiction Source: Study by Assocham

  A recent national survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India’s (Assocham) Social Development Foundation revealed that 84% of Indian employees who have access to the world wide web are showing symptoms of internet addiction. They spend more than the “normal’’ amount of time online, and show signs of irritability when they are interrupted from surfing, concludes the study.
   With 93% of youngsters saying they were aware of social networking sites, and most averaging an hour a day on MySpace, LinkedIn, Orkut, et al, employers are looking at a productivity loss of nearly 12.5% every day. “The growing use of browsing sites can be dangerous for overall productivity. IT companies have already installed software to restrict use,” said Assocham secretary general D S Rawat said.
   These findings are based on a survey of nearly 4,000 corporate employees across cities and towns such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, etc. “They use the net to chat, romance and derive some visual or intellectual satisfaction out. An employee’s work day is reduced from eight hours to seven,” read the survey. For instance, almost 77% of employees who had Orkut accounts accessed them at work. Already, restricted internet access has become a far-from-welcome norm in most offices, with 60% of companies denying their employees full access to social networking sites. “Only 40% of employees said their companies allow staff full access to the internet,’’ the study says.
Psychiatrists have expressed concern over this ‘log on for relationships and information’ culture, which they say is damaging the scope for people to hone their interpersonal skills. According to Assocham, 19% of corporates allow employees to access such sites for business purposes, while a mere 16% allow limited personal use.
Dr Vasant Mundra, consultant psychiatrist with Hinduja Hospital said there’s no denying the positive benefits of the internet. “On the other hand, being constantly logged online and indulging in ‘faceless’ communication is detrimental to one’s health,’’ he said. Dr Rajendra Barve, psychiatrist and HRD trainer concurred “This mindset is making people a slave to machines,’’ he said.
The survey reveals that an increasing number of people are using their mobile phones to surf the internet.


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