A huge one in five people would turn down a job that prevented them from using social media at work as the boundaries between work and home continue to blur, according to a new report.
The report dubbed ‘Web 2.0 in the Workplace 2010’, which was undertaken by security software provider Clearswift, indicated that so-called ‘Generation Standby’ regularly undertakes personal activities at work, not least because of increased pressure to work longer hours.
The trend is most pronounced among 23-45 year olds, where 57% do everything from checking social networking sites to emailing and undertaking online shopping. Men were also more likely to indulge in such activity than women, with 48% and 36% of the total respectively browsing social media, 69% versus 54% checking personal email and 34% of males compared to 20% of females shopping online.
About 66% of those undertaking private tasks in the workplace claimed that they made up the time they spend on the internet by working later or through their lunch break, however.
Hilary Blackwell, Clearswift’s global HR director, said: “Call it multi-tasking or life-splicing but increasingly fuelled by advances in technology, employees are blurring the boundaries between home and work.”
‘Generation Standby’ staff were now enjoying – and expecting – more flexibility and mobility than ever before, she added. “But this cultural shift raises new questions about trust in the workplace, the use of new technologies, the balance of power in the employer versus employee relationship and levels of control that businesses now have over people and content,” Blackwell said.
The report highlighted the trend still further by showing that 48% of office workers and 71% of managers undertook work-related tasks at home or vice versa at least twice a week. Some 57% of respondents used a home laptop for work, while 37% employed smartphones to provide them with an always-on link to what was happening in the office.
As a result, while most said that they were willing to be flexible when it came to working longer or flexible hours, they also expected their employers to give something in return. Some 79% of respondents said that, beyond job role and pay, the most important thing to them was being trusted to manage their own time and use the internet when they chose.
A further 62% believed they should be allowed to access online content from their work computers to undertake personal activities, although the figure dropped to 51% in the case of managers.