Many employers and employees are struggling to create policies regarding social media at work. In an ever changing online world it is more important than ever to establish a work place policy for social media. Social media at work needs to be balanced to respect and protect the needs of both the employer and employee.
Why is it not a good idea to access social media at work?
One of the reasons employers choose to block social media access employees have at work is to limit distraction. Social media can be addicting and time consuming. Employees can easily consume hours of unproductive time on social media websites.
If you are an employee you are smart not access social media on a company computer. Most employers are able to access and track anything you do on a company computer. This can damage not only your employment status, but your reputation. For safety reasons employers should not access any personal data or enter personal passwords on any workplace owned internet device.
Sharing personal information online while at work is not a good idea. You do not want your employer to see online social media activity during working hours. Another concern is that social media is a way to vent. Employees should be aware of posting any negative comments about your employer or customers. When social media access is immediately available at work, some employees may vent without taking the time to think about what they are posting.
Why do employers prevent social media access at work?
Employers block social media at work for many different reasons. They do have legitimate concerns and must consider legal ramifications, employees needs and company needs. Some of the top concerns of employers regarding social media at work are:
- Lost Productivity– Many employers feel that social media at work contributes to decreased productivity. If employees are on social media websites then they are not working. Employees who are not working are causing lost profits.
- Network Security – By allowing employees unlimited access to social media they are opening themselves up for network security issues. Employees can easily download viruses and malware from social media websites.
- Bullying and Harassment – A growing concern for employers is online harassment of fellow employees in the work place. This can take the form of bullying, sexual harassment or virtual harassment.
What are the benefits to allowing social media at work?
When deciding on a social media policy it is important to consider the needs, happiness and welfare of your employees. There are benefits to allowing social media at work. By allowing social media as a privilege and benefit you may have happier employees. It is possible to allow social media at work with boundaries that satisfy both the employee and employer. Some of the benefits to allowing social media at work are:
- Frequent breaks for employees – Many employees are actually more productive if they are able to take short frequent breaks to refresh themselves and their minds.
- Social media is part of daily life – Social media is already a part of daily life. Employees can be responsible with their social media use by creating effective policies that state exactly what type of activity is allowed on company owned internet devices and computers.
- Building a fun work cultural – The workplace is changing and many employers are encouraging a fun work environment. This helps to create happy and dedicated employees. Employees that are happy are willing to give 110% in return.
Social media at work is a topic that has to be dealt with. One thing to keep in mind is that employees already have access via personal devices. A social media policy should include all usage including usage during work hours on personal devices.