Walk by any employee’s work station on a given day and you may see that person quickly closing a Facebook or Twitter page from his or her computer desktop. No one wants to get caught tweeting or posting Instagram pictures when they’re supposed to be working. But studies indicate that four out of five employees now use social media for personal use during working hours.
A Norwegian study, however, shows that managers and executives, while critical of employees’ social media use at work, spend more time using social media during office hours than do their subordinates.
To assess how workers used social media while on the job, a team led by psychological scientist Cecilie Schou Andreassen at the University of Bergen surveyed more than 11,000 people. The researchers collected information on each respondent’s age, gender, education level, relationship status, and managerial responsibility. The team also designed some questions to measure personality traits.
Schou Andreassen and her team asked the participants about their attitudes toward and use of social media, such as the appropriateness of browsing Facebook while at work and the number of times they post a comment on Twitter in a given day. They also asked the respondents to reveal specific features about their workplaces, including restrictions on social media use.