It’s an endless debate which gets more complicated with every new site or lawsuit – where do you draw the line on social media use on work computers?
Many studies show companies are still reluctant to allow employees on social media, with more than half blocking these sites completely. It’s true that social media can be distracting and a mis-worded or thoughtless post can damage not only an individual’s reputation but also the company’s. So is it a case of better safe than sorry?
Some studies say no, and here’s why:
- Workers who access social networks are more productive
An Academy of Management study found that a 10-minute break where workers were allowed online increased productivity more than a similar break away from the computer. There’s also evidence that for every hour not working at work, employees put in an hour of work in their time off.
- Generation Y won’t work for companies that block their favourite sites
An Adecco survey revealed 38% of recent grads would not take a job they were otherwise interested in if they were not allowed to engage in certain activities. Almost a third rated “social media freedom” above salary in importance.
- A lot of your staff have smart phones and data plans, anyway
What exactly are you blocking? If your staff have smart phones – and about 50% do according to the 2012 Randstad WorkMonitor survey– they likely have a data plan so they can check their information any time, or receive alerts when someone updates them. Blocking these sites doesn’t limit staff’s use of them, but it does show a lack of trust. Which takes us to:
- Blocks are engagement-killers
Trust is one of the pillars of engagement – telling your staff you don’t trust them is only going to create resentment. Say goodbye to the productivity and loyalty that goes hand in hand with engagement.
- A well-worded, well-enforced policy will deal with most of your concerns
Instead of declaring a war on social media, and trying to keep up with every new site, have a well-constructed social media policy, which staff have to read and sign off on. The majority of companies still don’t have policies in place. Your policy should cover what behaviour is acceptable and under what circumstances staff might face consequences.
Have your say
Do you send a letter or email to unsuccessful candidates?
Substance dependence: what are your health and safety responsibilities?
Are you losing data when you lose staff?
How to tell a staff member they're dressed inappropriately
Bullies be gone: even non-victims are driven away by bullying
10 hardest jobs to fill
Reward programs like you’ve never seen
Office seating should be determined by employee moods
Layoffs: managing those left behind