Business, Finance & Economics

Employees demand social media access at work: study

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Twitter users were quick to respond to the launch of Facebook's new Graph Search tool. (Photo credit should read FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

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Fred Tanneau

A new survey shows that a significant percentage of employees view access to social media during the workday as a necessity.

Virtual office space company Intelligent Office polled 1,000 workers in the United States and Canada and found that almost one-third of employees spend at least an hour a day on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites during working hours.

A quarter of workers told Intelligent Office that they would not work for a company that banned or blocked social media sites in the office.

"Technology has made it possible to change the way we work, and now we simply see workers embracing the freedom to do so," Tom Camplese, Intelligent Office’s chief operating officer, told BusinessNewsDaily.

The survey’s findings are part of a larger trend of workers regarding 24/7 access to social media and the ability to speak freely on those sites as rights. It’s a growing belief that is supported by labor regulators, the New York Times reported in January.

The Times noted that, in a recent series of rulings and advisories, the US National Labor Relations Board has declared that companies cannot broadly ban employees from criticizing them on social media since those comments are protected free speech if they are aimed at improving wages, benefits or working conditions.

Federal law has long protected the right of employees to discuss work-related issues at the water cooler, Mark G. Pearce, chairman of the NLRB told the New York Times in January. “Many view social media as the new water cooler,” he said.

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