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Bosses Warned Facebook Festival-Goers

Friday, 24 June 2011

Facebook festival-goers could be costing British businesses more than £15 million in lost time today as office workers waste time checking their friends' photos and updates from Glastonbury.

As the UK's best known music festival gets underway, bosses are being warned of a new trend of office skiving as thousands of staff keep track of their festival-going friends via social networks.

Business support experts, ELAS, believe the wasted time could be costing the UK economy more than £30 million between now and Monday as staff spend hours glued to Facebook when they should be working.

Employment law expert, Peter Mooney, said: "It used to be that all bosses had to watch out for around festivals like Glastonbury were the few staff brazen enough to ring in sick when they were actually at the festival, and the handful of others who came back exhausted or with hangovers having overdone it over the weekend.

"Now, it's just as likely to be the staff who turn up to work who cost businesses most in lost productivity. Although they are at their desk in body, their minds and attention are elsewhere.

"Last summer we received hundreds of calls from businesses where staff were spending excessive amounts of time on social networking sites, both during the festivals and for days or weeks afterwards.

"In some cases, businesses estimated some staff were spending up to an hour a day on Facebook and the like while the festival was in full swing.

"For businesses with a high percentage of staff under 30 years old, such patterns can cost them thousands of pounds in lost productivity."

With more and more festivalgoers taking smartphones capable of uploading photos and videos to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, businesses are finding major events such as festivals affects the productivity of those left in the office.

ELAS conservatively estimates that, even if all those workers under 30 spent just 15 minutes a day checking up on their friends' festival experiences, the wasted time could cost UK businesses more than £30 million in lost productivity during Glastonbury alone.

Peter Mooney added: "Businesses should tackle the issue by reminding staff of company policy on social networking in work time, especially at the start of summer or in the event of a noticeable dip in productivity."