More than two-thirds of UK workers believe access to social networking sites should be banned from the workplace, according to new research from job site reed.co.uk.

The survey of 4,245 workers across the UK suggested that just one in three employees accesses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networking sites whilst at work. However, for some professions, social networks have become a staple of the working day. Almost half of those with jobs in marketing and PR said they tap into the social sphere every day, compared to just a quarter of finance workers.

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 The research also revealed that one in four businesses has banned employees from browsing social networking sites during work hours. 35% of employers give full access and, while the remaining 40% do allow access, it's almost always permitted for business purposes only.

 Martin Warnes, Managing Director of reed.co.uk, commented:

"In spite of their phenomenal popularity, the majority of UK workers would rather steer clear of Facebook and Twitter whilst they're at work, with many seeing them as an unwelcome distraction or a risk to their privacy.

"But social networks aren't just about liking and poking, they have an increasingly important role in business and in career development. Used in the right way, social networks offer a powerful platform for engaging with new customers, strengthening client relationships and gathering information.”

When it comes to following Twitter or updating a Facebook status, mobile takes the lead with 60% of UK employees opting to use their phone over a work computer. Warnes recommends employers enter into a dialogue with their staff about access to social networking sites at work.

He said:

"For many, social networking is a way of life, and smartphones allow us to stay up-to-date no matter where we are and what we're doing. So to avoid a situation where employees are surreptitiously accessing Facebook and Google + under their desks, employers should engage with their staff to determine an appropriate policy for use.”