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India survey says Facebook affects productivity

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Nearly half of employees questioned accessed Facebook at work

Indian firms are losing productivity because office staff spend too long on social networking sites, a survey says.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) says workers use Orkut, Facebook, Myspace and Linkedin for "romancing" and other purposes.

Office employees questioned in the survey spent on average an hour a day on sites like Facebook, leading to a loss in productivity of nearly 12.5%.

The findings were based on responses from nearly 4,000 corporate employees.

'Dangerous'

"Close to 12.5% of productivity of human resource in corporate sector is misappropriated each day since a vast majority of them while away their time accessing social networking sites during the office hours," according to the findings of Assocham's Social Development Foundation survey.

"As a matter of fact, [the] growing use of browsing sites can be dangerous for overall productivity and IT companies have already installed software to restrict its use," Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said.

The survey questioned 4,000 employees between the ages of 21 and 60 in Delhi, Bangalore, Madras (Chennai), Cochin, Indore, Ahmedabad, Surat, Mumbai (Bombay), Pune, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Lucknow and Kanpur.

The survey found that 77% of workers who had Orkut accounts used them during work hours.

Nearly half of office employees accessed Facebook during work time.

Moreover, four in every 10 workers built their entire Orkut or Facebook profile at work, the survey found.

Some 83% saw nothing wrong in surfing at work during office hours.

According to the survey, 19% of companies allow use of social networking sites only for business purposes, while 16% allow limited personal use.

Only 40% of the employees interviewed said that their companies allowed staff full access to social networking sites.

The survey also says that 84% of respondents in India's major cities show signs of internet addiction - they do not take breaks at appropriate times, they spend more than a "normal" amount of time online, and can get irritable if they are interrupted while surfing.

In September, Portsmouth City Council in southern England banned staff from accessing Facebook on its computers after it was revealed they spent on average 400 hours on the site a month.

The move was expected to stop the "waste of public cash".



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