According to a new survey, workers use social media at work for many reasons and taking a mental break is one of the most common one. Nearly 34 percent of the people surveyed said they use social media at work to take a mental break from their job, revealed a Pew Research Centre survey of 2,003 US adults.

"These digital platforms offer the potential to enhance worker productivity by fostering connections with colleagues and resources around the globe," the survey said.

At the same time, employers might worry that employees are using these tools for non-work purposes while on the job or engaging in speech in public venues that might reflect poorly on their organisation.

"While 27 percent use social media to connect with friends and family while at work, 24 per cent use it to make or support professional connections," the findings showed.

Twenty percent go to social media to get information that helps them solve problems at work while 17 percent use it to build or strengthen personal relationships with coworkers.

"Some 14 percent of workers have found information on social media that has improved their professional opinion of a colleague; at the same time, a similar share (16 percent) have found information on social media that has lowered their professional opinion of a colleague," the survey said.

Younger workers are more likely to find information on social media that changes their opinion of a coworker.

Some 23 percent of workers ages 18 to 29 report that they have discovered information on social media that improved their professional opinion of a colleague.

Many workers report that their employers have policies about social media use on the job, or about how employees may present themselves in various online spaces.

Half of all full-time and part-time workers (51 percent) say their workplace has rules about using social media while at work (45 percent say their employer does not have these policies), while 32 percent report that their employer has policies about how employees may present themselves on the internet in general (63 percent say their employer does not have these policies).

Workers whose employers have at-work social media policy are less likely to use social media for personal reasons while on the job, the findings showed.

Seventy-eight percent of workers who use social media platforms for work-related purposes say social media is useful for networking or finding new job opportunities.

"In the end, a majority (56 percent) of these workers believe that using social media ultimately helps their job performance. One-in-five (22 percent) believe that it mostly hurts, 16 percent feel that it doesn't have much impact either way and 4 percent see both the benefits and the drawbacks," the researchers noted.

Indeed, some 17 percent of workers report that they "hardly ever" use the internet on a typical day for work-related tasks while 25 percent report that they "never" use the internet for this reason.

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