UK bosses should accept the use of social networking sites during working hours.
A study by Demos has suggested that companies should not dismiss staff who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace at work as merely time-wasters. It claimed that attempts to control employees' use of such software could damage firms in the long run by limiting the way staff communicate.
The study encouraged businesses to be strict with those who abuse access but understand that social networking can encourage employees to build relationships with colleagues across a firm.
Peter Bradwell, a Demos researcher and the report's author, said: “They are part of the way in which people communicate which they find intuitive. Banning Facebook and the like goes against the grain of how people want to interact.
“Often people are friends with colleagues through these networks and it is how some develop their relationships. Using technology to build closer links with ex-employees and potential customers could also boost productivity, innovation and create a more democratic working environment.
“In today's difficult business environment, the instinctive reaction can be to batten down the hatches and return to the traditional command-and-control techniques that enable managers to closely monitor and measure productivity.
“Allowing workers to have more freedom and flexibility might seem counter-intuitive, but it appears to create businesses more capable of maintaining stability.”