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How many Millions Social Media costs Businesses A Russian PR manager's story of the countries that become social networking world champions, and how 20 Sochi budgets can be flushed down the drain.

Today, our system administrator sent me a report on the time I'd spent on social networks. I was "caught out" at 90%. And he warned me: if I continue socializing this much online, his next report will be on my boss's desk. But give me a break, I'm a PR manager!

This story would remain a harmless joke, were it not the bitter truth that employers run into on a daily basis. The thing is, it's not just PR managers who use the Internet and its infinite time-sucking distractions, but also other employees whose responsibilities don't involve Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. Some manage to spend more than half their working hours on these sites. Paid for, incidentally, by their employer. And in no such way that the company can expect profit as an end result.

For example, in 2013, the year before the Sochi Olympics, Russia was already world champion. But not for its number of Olympic medals, size of GDP, the standard of living of its population or its level of security. Rather, for nothing less than the amount of time its citizens spent on social networking sites.

According to research by ComScore, the average Russian spends 25.6 minutes a day "hanging out" on social networks, or 12.8 hours a month. And if the system administrator doesn't get onto their case, companies can run up big losses.

The average losses that Internet-addict employees inflict upon the country's economy were also calculated: as a result of inappropriate use of working hours, the Russian economy loses 300bn rubles ($8.5bn) on average each year – equivalent to the budgets of 20 large Russian cities, such as Kazan (which hosted the 2013 Universiade), and recent Olympic-host Sochi. Have a think about your own losses too, directly proportional to the number of online "socializers" you have.

In contrast to Russia, employees in Europe and America rarely have their access to social networking sites blocked; however, workers try to avoid abusing the opportunity to socialize online during their working day. The authors of the Kelly Global Workforce Index report arrived at this conclusion, having analyzed the results of a survey of 170,000 people in 30 countries worldwide. According to the results of the inquiry, the proportion of employees in the Asia Pacific region who willingly accessed social networks during working hours was around half (48%). In both of the Americas, just 16% shared this attitude. And in Europe – 31%. Within this, the least tolerant towards social networks were France, Italy and the UK, where 17%, 20% and 21% of employees respectively considered these online practices a normal feature of their day's work. In Denmark and Germany, however, 42% and 46% respectively considered the use of social networks in the workplace acceptable.

Having assessed the damages in terms of time and money, employers are increasingly turning to Internet access restrictions for their employees. But, at the same time, also growing is the number of employees typing into search engines: "What program lets you use the Internet anonymously at work?". And they obtain nearly 200,000 solutions "for dummies". Indeed, these solutions are also created with "dummies" specifically in mind. Products developed by IT companies that specialize in Internet Access Restriction and Activity Monitoring cut off any attempts these wiseguys make to tamper with systems unauthorized.

Specially developed programs do not simply sever everybody's Internet access at once. These kinds of programs act more subtly: not just identifying what an employee has been doing during working hours – chatting, shopping, Instagramming – but also how much time they have spent on their favorite distractions, amongst which the most widespread are still social networking sites, video clips and complete movies, computer games, online shopping and personal correspondence. With this kind of software set up, a system administrator's task becomes focused purely on analysis. A technician's job is then as follows: any site that is distracting each individual user from working is blocked and vanishes from their monitor. And for those employees particularly keen to resist management controls, the system administrator has an answer – a report on their manager's desk.

You can use this special loss calculator to assess the losses caused to your organization by inappropriate Internet use at work, and take the necessary measures on the basis of the results.

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