According to research conducted by Robert Half Technology in 2011, 31% of companies prohibited all access to social networking sites during working hours. Depending on your perspective, this decrease is either alarming high or alarmingly low. Determining what side you most identify with is not an easy question to answer.
The Case for Blocking Social Media at Work
Organizations that block access to social media often claim one or more of the following reasons:
Data Leakage: Companies want to protect their sensitive business information and prevent the types of accidental or deliberate leaks which are made easier via social media.
Decline in Productivity: This might be the number one reason cited by companies. They claim that social media distracts employees from focusing on their work.
Phishing and Other Types of Account Hijacking: Social media access may make users prone to becoming the subject of a hacking attempt of phishing attempt by inadvertently sharing sensitive login information on assumedly safe social accounts
HR and PR Policies: Companies may want to protect themselves from legal liabilities resulting from employees discussing the firm’s actions on social networks. They also want to contain possible PR disasters by restricting access to information that may otherwise go viral.
The Case Against Blocking Social Media at Work
Erin Lieberman Moran, senior VP at the The Great Place to Work Institute reports that “none of the top 100 companies to work for block social media access at the office.
The reason might be one or more of these:
Greater Collaboration: Using social media can help you quickly seek the opinions of a much larger and global network when approaching problems, rather than just those in your immediate space.
Research: For some jobs, it’s essential to be connected to your peers and the latest industry news and events. Social networks facilitate real-time sharing of events and news as it happens and allow you to have a finger on the pulse of any event.
Morale & Productivity: Social media provides an easy break from the routine of work, thereby helping employees stay motivated and loyal. If people enjoy what they’re doing and are allowed to have some downtime, it leads to greater feelings of happiness and contentment, all of which helps to boost productivity in the long run.
Advertising: Using the big social networks is essentially free – and what business doesn’t want free advertising? Employees and customers both tend to speak more positively about a socially active company and all this amounts to free advertising for the firm in terms of positive brand conversations.
There are signs that organizations may be loosening their policies with regards to social media access at work. According to the same Robert Half Technology report, the number of organizations that allows social media access for business purposes is up from 19% in 2009 to 51% in 2011.
What about your organization? Does it see social media access for employees during working hours as necessary, tolerated, or forbidden? Let’s talk about it below.
I would also encourage you to read this article on Social Media Crisis Communication, regardless of your current employee social media policy.Tags: Social Media