It’s a problem as old as the employer/employee relationship itself.

Other than a few obvious benchmarks how can any employer really gauge the amount of work happening at his/her place of business?

According to a number of recent studies including one from The Ladders, the answer is a few clicks away.

The Ladders article notes that employers that allow company email to be used for social media notifications are at greater risk of paying employees to be on Facebook and other social media platforms.

With the average 40-60 year old spending up to 5 hours a day on Facebook, it’s important that employers aren’t paying for that time. (Unless of course thats part of the workers job description.)

In an effort to maximize employee productivity, many companies have internet systems that block all social media sites. Others simply prohibit the use of company email for social media notifications. The rationale being, even the most well meaning worker is at greater risk of being distracted if they’re getting notifications about their cousins beach vacation or a friends new animal video (see below of a former employee email hitting our system) while they’re tackling the not as fun but necessary job tasks.

Employers not only have a legal right to monitor incoming and outgoing company email, according to some business experts, those who aren’t, are likely losing significant amounts of money and company resources on non business matters.

For employers who don’t have an in house IT person and wouldn’t know where to begin to monitor such activity, experts say, to contact your tech advisor. They can quickly check incoming email activity and flag any employee whose inbox is full of Facebook notifications, and other non work related emails.

Another big offender according to the experts, are employees who sign up for free business webinars and lunch discount coupons with their work email. Because a business email can generate a whole different list of incentives and email campaigns, those emails can quickly generate an extra 100 plus emails a week. Proving to be not only distracting for the employee but a waste of company resources on a number of levels.

A recent article in the Social Media Examiner notes that after more than a decade of navigating social media platforms, most responsible employees know that spending time on social media during the work day is a quick way to be shown the door, since posts and comments are all time stamped. Many employers need do nothing more than check their Facebook each evening to see what employee was posting or commenting during business hours. Experts say as a general rule of thumb, employees who use their company email for notifications are at best misusing their company email, and most likely not being as productive at work as their employer would like.

And for employees who think they ‘outsmart’ their employers by not friending them on Facebook or joining their LinkedIn profile, every social media platform leaves a trail. And every employer concerned about their bottom line, should be paying attention to not only what work goals are being accomplished, but how company email is being used.

So go ahead……get yourself blocked. That employee might have just told you they’re on Pinterest now, they’ll get back to work after they’ve checked their news feed.