A new study by Warwick University in the U.K. may finally put to bed worries that social media use in the workplace is a time-sucking distraction rather than a useful tool.
Warwick Business School spent more than two years following a big telecom company in Europe as it tried to implement social media and digital communications into its work habits—with Skype, Facebook, and Twitter in use alongside professional-grade software from SAP. The company's goal was to improve its customer communications. Warwick's study reports that by using social media and other online comms channels, staff were able to conclude sales more quickly and get more customer service tasks out of the way speedily.
Many other studies have underlined the benefits of social media tech, but this study is interesting due to the length of the investigation and the deliberate policy choice by the company in question. Many workplaces restrict the use of social media and other online "distractions" for their staff with security being one major concern. A different kind of risk was demonstrated recently when an employee live-tweeted the controversy around mass layoffs at British music retailer HMV.
[Image: Flickr user A.Davey]