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Social Media: Time Sink or Productivity Booster?

During a recent live chat about social media on the AICPA Facebook page, we asked participants, “Do you think social media is a time sink?” 50 percent said, “No,” and the other 50 weren’t so sure.

Time Sink graph

Those “Maybe’s” aren’t alone. I get countless questions from CPAs and managers asking if engagement on social media is really worth the time and if their employees are wasting valuable time by participating.

Our featured panelist during the Facebook chat, Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, CGMA (and executive director of the Maryland Society of CPAs), shared insights from an interesting article that states quite the contrary; social activity within an organization can be a productivity booster.

Research by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests, “that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent.” They explain social tools can help employees enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration.

"...by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent."

And talk about a time sink – the MGI research says the average worker spends, “… an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing email and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.”  They suggest when companies use social media internally, the time employees spend searching for company information can be reduced by as much as 35 percent!

Does your firm or organization have a social program like this – perhaps an internal community, discussion board or chat service, like Basecamp, Yammer or Chatter, to aid in collaboration? Let us know what you think of putting an internal social media program in place at your organization. Do you think it would increase productivity?

AICPA Members: Interested in learning more about social media? Check out these free social media user guides.

, Strategist, Social Media and Member Engagement, American Institute of CPAs.

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