We live in a digital age where smart devices, blogs, texting and social media use in the office are a reality. They are all part of the current workplace. Some companies recognize the use of social media as a way to increase connection among employees, clients and customers, while others block it to make sure employees stay focused on their work. The enterprise recognizes how unrealistic it is to expect employees to completely ignore social media at the office. How companies deal with social media use in the office is a direct reflection of their corporate culture.
The recent trends show that 54% of employers are blocking social media use at the office. They believe that social media is a great time waster, the 21st century version of the water cooler. By implementing a complete block, employers feel secure that their employees are spending their time doing the work they are paid for. But a study show that blocking social media access doesn’t work and it’s counterproductive. Employees spend more time finding a way to access social networking sites than actually visiting it. Most workers today have smart devices so it’s impossible to stop them from peeking to look for their social media updates in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
According to a study conducted at the University of Melbourne, employees with access to social networks were actually more productive than employees in companies that block access. Employees who reward themselves by visiting their Facebook or Twitter account after completion of task are more invigorated and get more work done. They get nine percent more accomplished compared to their blocked counterparts.
With social media becoming a ruling means of communication, companies blocking social media access find an ally in enterprise content management system with social capabilities like SharePoint. SharePoint 2013 enables employees to gather inside a private and secure social network thereby improving employee communication and collaboration. It makes employees more connected, and in turn reduces turnover and boost productivity. SharePoint 2016 is expected to give additional social functionality.
Social media today is used to meet corporate objectives in areas like marketing, customer service and sales. Companies allowing social media use in the office have implemented a formal policy governing its use. There is a code of conduct or guidelines expected from employees who use social media. The current office protocols on social media serve to provide standard of professional practice and conduct on social media use. When employees are on duty, they are required to use official time in an honest effort to perform their duties even with personal social media access.
Social media is neither secure nor private; posted information can go viral with no way of removing all traces of it from the Internet. Employees must be responsible for what they post online. They will be held responsible for the things they publish online even when they are at home on their own time. Employees are expected not to engage in any illegal activity and should respect others’ copyright, trademarks and the like when they’re online. They must also be polite and respectful to encourage constructive criticism when representing the company.
A smart office protocol on social media use supports employees’ natural inclination to use social media intelligently while ensuring the company is safeguarded from security risks. Company’s social media policy is a great place to reaffirm company culture. It is not enough to have a social media policy – employers must spend time and effort in training their employees about their policy. Having a clear social media policy can help employees to be responsible and think before they click.