Ok, I admit it. Several times a day I check LinkedIn to find out who is checking up on me. I might watch a You Tube video or two if my mind is really wandering. There are definitely going to be a couple of tweets and re-tweets. And I culled my Facebook friend list as Jeff Reeder suggested while doing research for this post. Time suck? Sure. Does it make me happier and more productive? That’s what the research shows.

A McAfee report found 40 percent of the thousand businesses they surveyed recorded an increase in productivity after allowing employees access to “Web 2.0 tools,” and 75% hoped to increase revenue by using these tools.

In other words, don’t block my access at work and we’ll get along fine.

Before we get too far down this road though, the purpose of this piece isn’t really to go into why companies should or should not block social media sites for their employees.

Plenty of others have written about that.

I just wanted to bring you up to speed – and date – on who is using social media sties and how and for how long... and how many of you are still blocking access. (Maybe I am trying to make a case for not silencing your best brand advocates).

Earlier this year, Robert Half Technology interviewed over a thousand chief information officers of companies with over one hundred employees.

Here is what they found about using social networking sites at work:

• 31% of companies prohibit all access (down from 54% in 2009)
• 51% of companies permit access for business purposes only (up from 19% in 2009)
• 14% of companies permit access for limited personal use (down from 16% in 2009)
• 4% of companies permit any access for personal use (down from 10% in 2009)

31% of companies prohibit all social media access.

Read the details of the study if you want to know more.

Now, of those who are online at work, you might guess that marketing types lead the way, comprising 44% of the at-work social media users. Let’s hear it for the creatives!

The IT folks aren’t far behind, though, with a 43% share. (Research, I’m sure).

Engineering is further back at 33%, and only 27% of the bean counters in accounting are checking out social media sites while on the clock.

Here is the breakdown as far as the specific social media sites go:

• 45% of the people who access social media sites at work are on Facebook
• 20% go to LinkedIn
• 18% hit up You Tube
• 14% for Twitter
• 3% visit specific Blogs

45% of the people who access social media sites at work are on Facebook

The device details aren’t surprising:

• 64% access these sites through a mobile device, thereby circumventing company blocking policies if there is one
• 36% use their work computer

64% access these sites through a mobile device, thereby circumventing company blocking policies if there is one

There is a combo platter as far as why they access these sites:

• 10% say it’s personal
• 35% do it for business
• 55% do it for both reasons

35% of social media at work users say they do it for business purposes

Now, how often?

62% 1-2 times/day
24% 3-5 times/day
9% 5-10 times/day
5% 10+ times/day

62% 1-2 times/day

So check me on my math, but according to the Social Networking at Work Survey stats I am citing here, of those who are using social media sites at work, a full 14% are doing it at least five times in a day, and a portion of those at least twice that.

That seems kind of excessive, doesn’t it --even for someone who champions unfettered access.

And before I get all kinds of angry cards and letters and emails, yes -- I know there are plenty of stories about employees truly abusing their online privileges that have cost companies hard cash and so on.

I still think the good outweighs the bad.

We want to hear what you think though.

Do you restrict social media access at your workplace if you are an owner or a boss?

And if you are an employee, do you have full access to social media sites, or are you blocked? Tell us why you are pissed off – or happy – about either.

Tags: Staffing, Facebook, Social Media, Linkedin, Twitter, You Tube, News, Videos, Blogs, Social media access