AVG Technologies has released the latest installment of its Digital Diaries and it takes a close look at how social networks impact the work life of respondents.

The research for all of the Digital Diaries is conducted by Research Now and this particular study took in responses from 4,000 people in ten different countries.

The report probably confirms a few things you already know, but it is interesting to see the issues that have come about when colleagues use the social Web.

According to the report, more than half of the respondents felt that privacy in the work place had been eroded with the proliferation of social media and as a result, many people had curbed their use of social networks or switched them off entirely.

One in then said that they had discovered secret discussions about them online that were initiated by their colleagues and 11 percent said that they had embarrassing photos or videos of them uploaded to social sites.

avg infographic 2 More than 50% of people feel their work place privacy is eroded by social networking: AVG study

In Spain and the UK, the rate of images and video posted of colleagues rose to 19 percent and 14 percent respectively.

In a more disturbing note, six percent of the adults surveyed said they were subjected to unwanted romantic overtures through social networks and in the US, this rose to one in ten. It might be inappropriate to hit on someone at work, but it looks as though there are a few ready to try online as a separate place.

No policy online

The use of social media looks pretty bad through the lens of this report. Though it could be seen as a way for friendly colleagues to bond and share their lives outside of the work place, it also seems to provide a channel for bullying and misuse.

The study shows that 82 percent of adults surveyed believe that sending unpleasant or defamatory remarks to or about a colleague constitutes cyber-bullying. Other forms of bullying acknowledged included posting negative comments about a colleague’s appearance at a work event and criticising others via email, instant messaging, social media or SMS.

A quarter of those asked said they were not protected from cyber-bullying as their workplaces do not cover this within existing policies.

avg study 3 More than 50% of people feel their work place privacy is eroded by social networking: AVG study

To some extent, gossiping on social media sites is to be expected as profiles are usually seen to be the domain of the individual. It’s just as likely that those sending messages of this type would be just as tempted to make similar comments in the pub.

However, many people are seeing the sense in changing the way they use social networks, not just because their boss may be watching, but because their colleagues may also be critical of the posts and updates that they make.

This study by AVG is part of a series looking at life on social networks. Back in April last year we took a closer look at the edition covering the habits of children online. To support the research AVG has provided an infographic with this data and more.

Image Credit: AllAboutGeorge / Flickr