Social Media Use in the Workplace
Many companies struggle with maintaining a fine balance with social media use in the workplace, as implementing a complete ban can be difficult given employees’ access to phones and computers. Similarly, a social media policy that is too lax can end up resulting in a loss of productivity, as the temptation to go off task is too hard to ignore. To help you figure out your social media policy, we’ve taken a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of allowing social media use in the workplace, and whether it’s beneficial to your business.
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Advantages to social media the workplace should not overlook
What are some advantages to social media the workplace should not overlook?
Social media use in the workplace allows employees to take a break
Though a simple 30 min or one-hour break in the middle of the day works great in theory, some employees are better suited to taking incremental breaks throughout the day to give their brain a rest. This doesn’t mean constantly looking at their phone at any given moment, but more so when they’ve completed a large task. Allowing the flexibility to do a five minute scroll through social media is a suitable short mental break that can be very beneficial for employees who find it hard to work in long blocks. Given that every person has their individual working style, allowing for the odd social media break can help curb mental fatigue.
Enhance employee’s learning and networks
Depending on the sort of company you have, social media use in the workplace can offer a good source of information, education, and inspiration. For example, if your company is heavily involved in the lifestyle or food industry, Instagram would be a wonderful source of imagery. For in depth articles, social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook can be a goldmine for information. When used appropriately, social media is a wonderful source for up-to-date information and business networking.
Recognise employee’s achievements
Social media is a wonderful way for a company to broadcast an employee’s achievements, such as work anniversary shout outs, key milestones, or even welcoming a new employee. This encourages fellow employees to add their words of encouragement too, which can result in healthier working relationships in the office. Employee’s who see that they’re recognised for their efforts are more likely to stick around long term, resulting in less employee turnover and hiring costs for the business.
Disadvantages of social media in the workplace
What are some disadvantages of social media the workplace?
Social media use can encourage cliques
Using social media in the workplace to communicate can be a wonderful way for employees to bond, but it also gives way for cliques as well. If employees are creating smaller Facebook groups outside of the work channel, it can quickly become a refuge for employees to speak badly of people outside the group. Similarly, fellow employees who are aware of the group and not invited, can end up feeling left out or ostracised. Additionally, social media in the workplace can result in a loss of privacy, as personal posts can quickly get circulated around the office.
Social media can be distracting
Social media is known to be addicting, so if an employee feels as though they can regularly access their phone, they may be more inclined to spend a lot of time on it. Something that starts off as innocent as briefly checking a phone can quickly turn into an obsession, resulting in a loss of productivity. This may then lead to disciplinary actions needing to be taken to manage the fine line between intermittent checking and addiction.
Social media use in the workplace may encourage bullying and harassment
Unfortunately, when people are more aware of the intimate details of each other’s personal lives, it may leave room for bullying and harassment. This could be something as simple as an employee sharing a political meme on Facebook or expressing an unpopular opinion online. Considering social media use in the workplace can have a snowball effect on out of work communication, it can easily make separating the lines between personal life and work-life all the more difficult – something of which may be beneficial for a small business but hard to manage for a large corporate firm.
Managing social media in the workplace with Bramwell Partners
As you can see from our article, there are many pros to using social media in the workplace to communicate in the workplace, but it’s worth specifying boundaries with a clear social media policy. If you have any questions about managing social media in the workplace, please get in touch with Bramwell partners HR resource consulting services for advice on how you can establish a social media policy for your business.