Employers are actively seeking new network-wise employees on social media platforms. The more active you are on social media (in a career-orientated manner), the more attractive you will become to a potential employer. Yet, once these companies have you through the doors of employment, they expect you to leave your social media savvy personality at the doorstep.
Depending on your job description, you could be banned from engaging in social media activities while sitting in your comfy office chair, or you could expected to keep up-to-date and in-sync with all the latest industry related social announcements as they unfold throughout the day. Therefore, whatever your position, you should ask to be briefed on the extent social media can be used on workplace computers.
As an employer you seek a happy workforce. However, letting your employees be distracted by social media is a daunting reality. As an employee, you seek a happy work environment and if you are screen-bound all day long, a little light social media relief can be a nice reward. As social media is a public space and your office is a private place (and most likely privately owned), then you need to be aware of your company’s social media boundaries. Perhaps, the most effective means for your company to define such limits is to create a social media policy. If your employer doesn’t have one and you are allowed access to your social media networks throughout the day, outline your own personal social media policy to that you will know your own productivity boundaries.
Let’s investigate the pros and cons for allowing access to the internet’s most notorious networking sites in the office.
Pros: Vote YES to Social Media in the Workplace
Employees Need Little Breaks to Stay Productive
In school and university we were taught that taking little breaks when studying will increase productivity and the same can be said for the workplace. Everyone needs a mental break from a project every now and again. Sometimes, checking your Facebook page or Twitter account for a few minutes is all that is needed for a morale boost. Workers will get this quick burst of liberation without even leaving their desk.
Employees have the Opportunity to Get Answers Quickly
You may be pleasantly surprised just how effective it can be to seek specific industry knowledge on a social network. Both employees and employers can share work-related content, personal opinions, swap different perspectives and insights on industry-relevant issues on a day to day basis.
Employees Can Create New Business Opportunities on the Platforms
Even in this day and age, there is still a high number of companies that think in a very “old school” way. As the world grows faster technologically, some employers will be intimidated by or resistant to moving along with the technological wave, this your chance to bring your social media savvy skills to the center stage. Perhaps you can suggest to create a business profile on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or present some case studies of successful social media marketing strategy that are sure to attract new business, elevate the company’s online reputation, introduce the business to new markets and boost company morale… and they thought social media was just for catching up with friends!
Cons: Vote NO to Social Media in the Workplace
A drop in Productivity
Some individuals will benefit from taking short mental breaks and become more productive, others may abuse the privilege or find it very hard to only engage with their networks for a short period of time. If latter involves the majority of your workforce, then expect a drop in productivity in the office. How do you know which manner employees are more susceptible to? Monitor social media use to find out.
Companies never want confidential information to be shared online through a network. A social media policy can prohibit employees from communicating about the workplace. It is important to be aware of the risk that hackers could infiltrate a network if you do not have the best security system up and running. If employees are uploading and downloading videos on the office server this may lead to slow connections and increase the need for more IT support.
Inappropriate Behavior Online
We have all heard the many stories of schoolyard bullies using social media to discriminate against their teachers, peers and schools. There are also bullies in the workplace that can do the same. Such bullying could result in an employer liability to the bullied employee if the matter is not dealt with appropriately.
Payscale have researched this topic and creatively developed this inforgraphic to communicate the results. It seems that at large companies adopt one of two rules, a) they have a formal social media policy in place or b) social media is be used outside the office. It seems negative company communication is the capital fear that prevents companies from permitting social media freedom during working hours. All in all, in the eyes of the employer, social media should be exclusively reserved for carefully managed brand promotion and professionally handled social recruiting.