Social networking sites are costing UK businesses an estimated £6.5bn in lost productivity every year.
The popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo are costing UK corporations £6.5bn, according to a poll conducted by information security consultancy Global Secure Systems (GSS) and industry show Infosecurity Europe 2008.
The poll was carried out amongst 776 office workers, many of whom admitted to spending at least 30 minutes a day visiting social networking sites whilst at work. That is a minimum of 10 hours a month, which equates to three weeks of every year.
Two respondents said they were so hooked that they spent three hours visiting such sites every day.
The visits to social networking sites equates to potentially billions of pounds in lost productivity every year, said GSS, plus the extra demand on network bandwidth which is an additional cost to a business in terms of efficiency, maintenance and resources.
Last year the TUC urged employers to put in place policies for allowing staff to visit social networking sites during the working day, within reason, as it claimed working and private lives were now closely intertwined as a result of technology.