According to the annual social media and employment research report by law firm William Fry, 78% of employees are accessing social media using personal devices while at work — up from 60% in 2013.
The report finds that men spend more time on social media (39 minutes) than women (25 minutes) during the working day.
The average number of minutes spent on social media while at work is 29.
More than one third of employers admitted to not having any social media policy or guidelines in place, while one-quarter of employees said they were not sure if their employer such a a policy or guidelines.
The continued popularity of LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms has seen one quarter of employees using social media to search or apply for new jobs.
A total of 46% of employees said that what prospective employers might see on social media accounts influences their posts — up from 28% in 2013.
Catherine O’Flynn, a partner in William Fry’s employment and benefits department, advised employers who have not done so to put a social media policy in place.
“Our research finding that more and more employees are using personal devices to access social media at work is of note,” she said.
“Businesses risk serious reputational and/or financial consequences from employees’ inappropriate activity on social media channels.
“Accordingly, it is vital that organisations address use on personal devices as well as company devices when preparing their social media policies.”
Ms O’Flynn pointed to case law that has emerged over the last year highlighting the continuing need for employers to have a policy in place so they can defend claims of vicarious liability brought by employees against the organisation in relation to the conduct of their colleagues.
The report notes that 44% of employees have work-related contacts on their personal social media accounts with 96% stating they have never discussed with their employer what will happen to these contacts once they leave employment.
Ms O’Flynn said: “This is another area that organisations need to address to prevent the loss of valuable contacts and information. This is especially important as the market continues to pick up and employees move from one job to another with more frequency and speed.”