Should Employees Access Social Media at Work?
By: Amy Morin
There is a wide discrepancy between employers about whether or not employees should have access to social media while they’re at the office. While some employers ban it, others actually encourage it.
With that in mind, it’s important to educate yourself about the pros and cons of social media use at work before developing a social media policy.
Blocking Social Media Access
Some companies block access to all social media.
However, software to block social media sites can be expensive and often, it doesn’t work. Many employees will find their way around it anyway.
Also, most employees will still be able to access social media from their own mobile devices even if they can’t do so from their work computer.
Therefore, employers should think long and hard about whether or not it makes sense to allow employees to access social media sites.
Pros of Allowing Employees to Use Social Media
Some studies show that employees who access social media from work can actually be more productive. Employees who reward themselves by going on Facebook for a few minutes when a task is completed might be more motivated to finish the task.
Socializing at work isn’t new.
Employees who used to gather around the water cooler to chat can now interact with one another from their desk.
Social media allows employees to interact with friends and family outside of the office too, which may be able to boost morale and prevent them from making lengthier phone calls to their loved ones.
Allowing access to social media can even be a good way to promote your business. After all, an employee is likely to mention where he works or what products he sells which can be a great way to gain word of mouth advertising.
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Cons of Allowing Employees to Use Social Media
Despite some of the potential positives of social media, there are certainly some downsides. Many employers worry that social media will be too distracting and that it will encourage employees to waste time.
Another common concern raised by employers is that social media will encourage gossip, drama and sexual harassment in the workplace.
When employees are discussing non-work related topics with one another and with people outside the company during work hours, it raises concerns about the employer’s responsibility to monitor the conversation.
Developing a Social Media Policy
It’s best to take a proactive approach to developing a social media policy. Rather than wait for a problem to arise, create a simple social media policy for your employees that clearly outlines your expectations.
Address issues related to your confidentiality policy and appropriate online behavior. Talk to employees about marketing via social media and your expectations for their discussions about their employment.
Check out other businesses’ social media policies. This can provide you with a guide about how to word your social media policy.
Educate your staff up front and encourage ongoing discussions about social media.
In the end, this can prevent problems and also help you stay up to date on how to address issues as they arise.
About the Author: Amy Morin writes about psychology, business and topics such as small business payroll.