Shock! Offices lose productivity to Facebook -study

July 13, 2009

We think you saw this one coming: Employers are losing a whopping 1.5 workers per 100 in employee productivity to the social networking phenomenon that is Facebook.

This number was uncovered by the clever folk at Nucleus Research, who surveyed 237 randomly  selected office workers. They discovered that some of you spend more time than you probably should poking, adding and making inane comments on friends’ pages.

In fact some of you may be horrified to learn that Nucleus is advising corporations to consider restricting Facebook access at work to reclaim that productivity — all the more important in a global recession and rising unemployment they say.

Among the findings from Nucleus’ interviews with said randomly selected workers:

  • Nearly two-thirds of those who have Facebook access visit the site during working hours.
  • Those who visit Facebook at work do so for an average of 15 minutes each day.
  • 87 percent of those who use Facebook at work couldn’t define a clear business reason for using it.
  • Of those who do visit Facebook at work, 6 percent never use it anywhere else, meaning one in every 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work hours.
  • There are also serious security concerns as IT departments can’t monitor Facebook messages.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Nucleus’s survey took lunch-break time into account (some people might only visit Facebook during break-time). Either way, one imagines if a survey of 237 workers can ever be used as an adequate sample, then there will be a lot of unhappy workers out there in the office world, should all those IT departments take Nucleus’ advice. As Nucleus concludes in its press release:

Companies should evaluate their Facebook policy and the cost to the organization in allowing access to Facebook, as today blocking Facebook may actually result in a 1.5 percent gain in productivity.

In other words blocking Facebook will give you 1.5 more workers for every 100 workers. Nice.

(Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg/Reuters)


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It all depends on professionalism. Any soothing activity can have a place if it is scrupulously limited to the amount that improves overall productivity (including quality). In some cases, to obtain the same benefits, a company might have to pay more for amenities. (I have never used facebook.)

Posted by Pete Cann | Report as abusive

The same company should examine how much productivity is lost due to coffee breaks, bathroom runs, cigarette smoking, and walking to your desk.

Posted by kyle | Report as abusive

Yes, because it’s empericaly proven that when people can’t visit Facebook anymore, the’ll use those 15 minutes to work very, very hard… People can’t focus on their work for eight hours a day non-stop, they need a break every once in a while… so they can FOCUS BETER on their work activities after that! This advise has to be a joke…

Posted by Marieke | Report as abusive

Its quite easy to block access to these sites, you can be pretty sure that many companies will take action after reading this survey.

Posted by Nikkei 225 | Report as abusive

of course it’s a joke. Didn’t you see the photo? And headline? It’s satire.

Posted by alan | Report as abusive

worthless survey folks… why? two words: “Smart Phone” anyone who wants to use facebook (or anything else on the WWW for that matter) can do so anytime they like. Blocking things like facebook become only a minor inconvenience.

Posted by Kere Remle | Report as abusive

My office blocks already blocks facebook, along with most other websites that aren’t news related or Google. Instead, I’m unproductive when I search Reuters.

And oddly enough, they don’t block my access to webcomics like,, or

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

So let me see. I work 55+ hours per week. I get to go out to lunch about once per month. Although I don’t do Facebook, online window shopping for shoes helps me keep my sanity when I have those moments of not wanting to cope. Yeah. Go ahead and take things like that away and I’ll get an exec job somewhere else… Rate me on performance, not on time online. I get some of my best thinking done in the shower and while online.

Posted by NoName | Report as abusive

Any business interested in security and productivity will already have in place rules regarding the access to social networking sites. Work is work -your two government mandated breaks and lunch should be plenty of downtime so one can “focus better”

Posted by lysa | Report as abusive

“Of those who do visit Facebook at work, 6 percent never use it anywhere else, meaning one in every 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work hours.”

Shouldn’t that “result” be one in 17?

Posted by Moriarty | Report as abusive

A survey of 237 randomly selected people.. Sounds pretty scientific.. Extrapolating that to the working public at large is a pretty irresponsible action..

This study is a) total B.S. b) only serves to scare folks and c) numerous studies have shown downtime at work actually INCREASES productivity..


Posted by Trey | Report as abusive

The picture is of Mark Zuckerberg, the youngest BILLIONAIRE in the entire World, and he is laughing all the way to the bank. Heard news that a conglomerate is considering buying up Facebook, by buying all common shares. Employees and friends who own them will become millionaires themselves. Some people live on Facebook and twitter. I visit Facebook 2 to 3 times a week. My afternoons are dead because east coast customers are home, so it’s either that or “123 free solitaire.” Yet, I do 70% alone of the calls into our support center. You need downtime, but just not excessive. Companies that monitor websites employees visit and prevent other sites see a high turnover of employees and profits fall when good employees leave to find less restrictive companies. I still get my work done. Wait until Facebook charges for basic use and online use on company time will go back to normal because most will leave it.

Posted by Rugratz2222 | Report as abusive

1.5 workers in 100? Mathematically speaking that is 7.2 min per worker a day on average. In other words, not a big deal.

Posted by what | Report as abusive

Being and employee requires respect and dedication for the workplace. If there aren’t these two things than you should better find another job. I recently find this post related to social networks : How to streamline social networks

Posted by Anelly | Report as abusive

[…] spend about 1.5% of their working hours updating, friending, messaging, etc., according to a new survey of office workers by Nucleus […]

Posted by » Blog Archive » Breaking news: Facebook wastes employees’ time | Report as abusive

Whether an application is blocked or not, self-control comes from within

Ive been using .
It uses a better method than blocking social media sites because it only monitors sites like Facebook during production hours. People/Employees still have the option to use it for a breather or during breaks .
Sometimes they use it for work too in helping reach decisions. For me its really unnecessary to block Facebook.

Posted by silverwink | Report as abusive