By Kevin Harrington of Sodexo Motivation Solutions

We are all prone to distractions at work, be it surfing the internet for the latest holiday deals, checking Facebook, updating personal blogs or reading the gossip columns.

However, are these distractions taking over our working lives? According to the media watchdog Ofcom we spend a worrying 25% of our day on the internet or using social networking sites.

In addition, a recent study has shown that the pacman game, launched 30 years ago and available on Google’s homepage, has successfully wasted over 5 million work hours.

Whilst these figures are alarming and may lead managers to think about their employee’s productivity in the office, they should remember that as much as the internet may lead to distractions, it is still vital to allow staff the flexibility to be able to use the internet and other social media tools in the office.

Sometimes the smallest things can keep employees engaged and ensure they stay with the company. Perhaps allow staff members to go on Facebook or book their holiday during their lunch hour. If you allow them a quick break in between meetings to play a game of Sudoku on the internet, they will spend less time surfing when they should be working.

We all recognise that allowing too many distractions at work can be detrimental, but trusting your staff to use the internet appropriately and during the right time periods will mean employees are likely to go that extra mile for their work.