There’s a kerfuffle going on about a Peninsula report that claims Facebook costs UK plc 233 million lost hours per month, the equivalent of Â£130 million per day. That’s what the BBC has said. And it has been repeated all over the place.
None of the mainstream media chose to question the math. Peninsula’s assertions don’t stand even a cursory screening. It’s just not possible. Work it out. There are some 3.5 million Facebook users in the UK. To lose that amount of time, each and every one would have to be spending 66 hours per month on Facebook for every month of the year. If that were true then UK plc would be going down the toilet and the stink would be noticeable. (Some may already think that but…) I know what I think of Peninsula’s headline grabbing research: horse crap. But what of others? The Inquirer takes a similar position saying:
Employment law firm Peninsula added up a number and divided by its shoe size and worked out that 233 million hours are lost
That sounds about right to me. Let’s be clear. Peninsula makes its money scaring the living crap out of firms by pointing out just how much at risk they are from errant employees. They offer help developing great standards of employee relationship such as these, epitomised by Paul Fabretti’s experience:
A headache is having to live on the breadline for a long period of time because one of your clients (Swift Marketing Solutions) deducted wages from me as an incentive to make me work more effectively and at the same time changed the terms of my contract without giving me a new one. Is it not the responsibility of Penninsula to ensure that their clients are acting within the rules?
Luis Suarez more considered but equally poignant take:
Why don’t we carry out studies that show and demonstrate the huge amount of losses for every single business out there just because their knowledge workforce did not know who to contact to get the job done faster, much more responsively and with plenty more quality? Do we have to remind business how much money they have lost over the course of the years just because one department didn’t know how to reach out to another to help out in a customer situation? How much money and time have businesses wasted on reinventing the wheel at the other side of the world, when that same business implemented a similar solution, but for a different customer?
Good idea Luis. Get IBM to fund it and I’d certainly be interrested.
In the meantime here’s a thought for those looking to find a new job. How about asking whether the prospective employee uses Peninsula to help with employee management? As a rider, ask about the companies social networking policies. Employers need recognize that selection plays both ways.