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When Social Media at Work Don't Create Productivity-Killing Distractions

When Social Media at Work Don't Create Productivity-Killing Distractions
Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Workers who are encouraged to tweet, chat, like, and Skype on the job are among the most productive, new academic research says, shooting yet another hole in the managerial argument that social media in the workplace leads to goofing off and slacking on company time.

Far from being a distraction, common social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, plus Skype to chat, enable employees to answer more customer queries, and more quickly, says Joe Nandhakumar, professor of information systems at the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom. He and his research team attribute this productivity boost to something Nandhakumar calls the “theory of virtual co-presence”—the ability to collaborate with others over long distances in relatively short, productive sessions to resolve problems or accomplish tasks.