Facebook. All your friends are there, it’s so much fun, and it costs US employers $28,000,000,000 in productivity-loss per year.
I recently ran into a competitive situation with my business, ConnectSolutions, where an organization was comparing our service costs against a competitor. However, the organization was not considering the fact that our solution increased productivity through ease-of-use and associated time-savings. After I developed a model that showed the potential productivity boost (it was millions of dollars based on the size of the organization and average cost-per-employee/per year), they understood the true costs of both services.
That productivity boost got me thinking about what else we all spend our time on during the course of a workday that might impact productivity. A quick search will tell you that Americans are spending, on average, 14 of their 74 minutes of online time on Facebook. Mobile time spent might be more significant, but I don’t have ready access to those distribution stats.
Using that astonishing statistic, let’s make a few assumptions as inputs into our model. First, I’ll assume that people are spending only 50% of their total Facebook usage during a given day during work hours. After all, we are hard working Americans…right?
- Time Spent On Facebook During Workday: 7 minutes
Next up, how many of us are sitting in front of computers with internet access each workday? As a proxy, I’ll use the “knowledge worker” profile with an estimate of 30% of us American workers fall into.
- Total Number of Internet-Connected Workers: 48,000,000 (30% of roughly 160M workers)
Ok, now let’s put these together to show how much time collectively we are spending on Facebook:
- 48,000,000 worker * 7 minutes per day = 336,000,000 minutes per workday
Yikes, that’s a big number. But how can we translate that into cost-per-employee? Based on an average salary guestimate of $50,000 and 2000 work hours per year, we can assume a per-minute cost-per-employee of around $0.40/minute. If we take that cost-per-minute and apply it to time employees are spending on Facebook, we get a big number…
- Daily Productivity Cost due to Facebook Browsing: $140,000,000
If we apply that to annual cost, we end up with a really scary number:
- Annual US Employer Cost due to Facebook Browsing: $28,000,000,000
Before thousands of IT organizations across the US race to block the facebook.com domain on their firewalls, it’s worth noting this is just a fun exercise and people’s actual usage patterns will vary widely. We can also assume that there are some knowledge workers who aren’t using Facebook, or at least at work…
Edit: thanks to a reader for pointing out my exuberant use of an extra zero in my initial post…corrected…and still a very large number