Advisory and conciliation service ACAS has drawn up a best practice guide for businesses looking for advice on staff internet and social media use, which it said could save the country billions of pounds a year in productivity losses.
ACAS said that, while social media use has soared in the past 10 years, with around 55 per cent of staff now using it at work, fewer than one in 10 employers have a policy to deal with such use.
The ACAS Social Networking guide includes practical tips for employers on how to deal with this technology-driven shift in the way people work.
Key among the recommendations is to draw up a social media-specific acceptable use policy and to make sure it is kept up to date to take account of the fast-moving pace of change.
ACAS also advised consulting staff and unions when drawing up policy so that all sides are happy, and that employers should state clearly the consequences of breaching that policy, which should become part of an employment contract.
ACAS chief executive John Taylor argued that online conduct should not differ from the offline world.
"Employees should assume that everything they say on the internet could be made public, and should think whether they want their colleagues or boss to read it," he added.
"They might not mean it, but what they post could end up being seen by billions of people worldwide."
Sam Kinstrey, managing director at consultancy 2e2, suggested that social media can deliver huge benefits to organisations, for example in improving customer service and driving better employee interaction.
She added that, in today's workplace, companies must take a more balanced approach to employee use of such sites.
"An employee might look at Facebook during the day, but at the same time they might be looking at their work emails in the evening. Increasingly workers are going to expect proactive policies around social media, as they'll expect to be armed with the latest technologies in their jobs," she said.
"It is vital that policies around social media use are informed by working practices and coupled with training, otherwise employers could end up with a lot of pain and no benefit."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago