Since the advent of social media into our daily lives, it is easy to see how the emergence of this new social addition has manifested itself.
Years ago, we checked emails in-between the demands of the working day, but now, Facebook and other social networks like Twitter have really taken over.
Interestingly, the USA ruled that checking Facebook at work isn’t a crime – even if it’s in violation of some companies’ policies. Of course this is in relation to the USA and laws in the UK are very different, but it does beg the question – what do you do when your employees spend as much time on the job as they do on Facebook and Twitter?
Many companies have tried to be clever and have implemented stringent rules on the use of things like Facebook during working hours. However, a recent study in March highlighted that allowing employees to use Facebook while they work actually makes their jobs more enjoyable and increases productivity.
Of course there is a good argument for not restricting use as well. After all, with so many smart phone and iphone users having Facebook applications on their mobiles they can just as easily update their profiles from there. Equally they can update Twitter, take a photo for Pinterest and create a video for direct upload to You Tube.
So where do employers’ draw the line? Should you police this activity?
There are a number of outdated social networking policies that companies have also introduced to their working contracts but how far you go with the ‘dos and don’t’ approach is largely up to you and how you feel about social use during work time.
So, how can you help yourself?
The first tip is to be realistic. Yes employees can get addicted to social networking, but hopefully at the very least you can check their productivity during working hours. If you suddenly see they aren’t doing anything then it’s probably time to at least speak to them about their social use.
The second approach is to view social media as more of a community tool. However, you would need to consider what your employee is saying about you or the company. As you may be aware, there are a number of people who have incriminated themselves via Facebook!
Have a clear policy from the start and do not give your employees mixed messages. Try to be clear on what you are and are not happy with.
Ensure you make it clear that any private company information is never shared. This would be in a contract where someone’s work is of a sensitive nature in the real world, so you must make sure you apply this to your social policy as well.
If you are happy to allow employees access to social networking, make it clear that this should not impact on their job responsibilities. By doing this, you are not then completely cutting things out, but retaining more control on what people are doing.
After all, no one in the world can expect to get paid for talking to their friends all day (unless perhaps they are employed as your company social media spokesperson).
The last option is probably the most drastic. You can facilitate a complete blockage of all social networking sites on your server.
This means you can simply block access to Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn but again, do not assume that because you’ve done this your employees won’t utlise their phones for the updates.