Whether it's a job requirement or just a clandestine click-over when no one's looking, checking social networks and surfing the Web during work hours have become almost ubiquitous. Although responding to emails from old friends and sharing memes on Facebook aren't exactly good use of company time, it's become increasingly difficult for employees to completely separate their personal and professional online lives. If work follows you home on your smartphone when you leave the office, outside issues can certainly spill over into the workday.
With home and work lives intertwined, office productivity can take a serious blow if you're not managing your time well. According to a recent study by aggregator service MyLife and market research firm Harris Interactive, the average adult Internet user has three different email accounts, and about half of Internet users manage multiple social networking profiles. Of the respondents with multiple accounts, 86 percent visit each of them daily.
"There's an increasing use of multiple profiles across the Web," said Jeff Tinsley, CEO of MyLife. "People rely heavily on these services every day. Nearly 40 percent of all time spent online is used checking emails and social networks. They have more accounts to do the same thing: connect, communicate and not miss anything."
The "fear of missing out" (FOMO) drives many workers to waste valuable time visiting and checking each of their individual accounts. For companies, the answer is not to ban or limit social media use — "I don't know if that's possible!" said Tinsley — but to streamline it.
"Services like MyLife make managing your online universe easier," Tinsley told BusinessNewsDaily. "You can view everything from one place, consume the news that's most important to you and pull all your connections together. We have more than 67 million users who save up to 50 percent of their online time by aggregating their news and social networks.
Based on Tinsley's advice, here are a few ways to boost workplace productivity by integrating the segments of your online life:
Consolidate your email accounts. Email account management is key for making the most out of your work time. Make use of mail-forwarding options to make sure all messages from multiple addresses land in the same inbox.
Use one calendar. Invitations for meetings, work outings and social events all come through on your various email and social accounts. It's easy to overbook yourself if you're trying to manage separate work and personal calendars. Keep everything in one place to not only make sure you're on time and organized, but to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Keep up with company news and personal news in the same place. You might have a Feedly or Pulse account (RIP, Google Reader) to keep up with the various blogs and websites you follow in your spare time. Add outlets that report on competing organizations, and external news that can affect your business, to the same aggregator so you don't have to spend time researching each of these sites individually.