Social Media Doesn’t Kill Productivity After All

Does your company prohibit you from accessing Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube at work? Quite a few do, citing the ability of cute animal videos and status updates to distract employees from the work at hand. But according to the biggest story making the rounds this morning, their concerns may be misplaced. In fact, the study in question suggests that a company’s most “connected” employees may be its most productive!

Don’t get too excited yet — the research, conducted by data analytics firm Evolv, involved approximately 40,000 call center employees whose responsibilities range from sales to customer service, so it didn’t cover the whole business spectrum. But here’s the interesting thing: the employees who counted themselves as members of more than five social networks were also the most valuable! They had, on average, better close ratios for sales and more efficient customer service records based on time per call.

The data doesn’t really lead to any big conclusions because the numbers don’t really prove causation. And we can’t imagine too many bosses walking around the office to make sure all their employees are up to date on the latest screaming goat/Taylor Swift mash-up. But the guys behind the study told AdWeek that it probably reflected on the increased sociability of the employees who follow all these networks. Most employees with greater social savvy also have more tech knowledge and tend to stay in their jobs longer.

Of course, the slacker principle still applies: employees who spend the most time on social don’t always get their work done, and the best maintain a delicate balance between reading their feeds and doing their jobs. But company-wide social media bands are looking less and less necessary.