At GCAi, much of our work consists of developing content for social media and observing trends and data associated with those platforms. It’s hard to imagine living on #GCAiPlanet without access to Facebook and Twitter. However, that is not the case for many other companies. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, 89% of the nearly 1,500 companies they interviewed in the U.S. impose limits on employee access to social networking sites. They argue that giving access to Facebook will tempt employees to procrastinate, get distracted, and post comments or opinions which reflect poorly on the company, all while on the clock and getting paid.
In our opinion, statistics like this overshadow the fact that there are potential benefits to accessing social networks while at work. When using these platforms appropriately, employees can become great brand advocates, stay up to date on news and trending issues, and find creative inspiration. Companies that ban Facebook, Twitter and other sites maybe be missing out on the opportunity to educate employees on the proper use of these sites to supplement their work, for purposes ranging from research to becoming brand ambassadors.
We asked our subscribers and followers to share their opinions on the issue through a short survey we developed. While only 25% of respondents work at a company where social media is banned, a whopping 87.5% do use social media during work hours. When asked if social media should be banned in the workplace, and if it reduces productivity by being overly distracting, 75% of respondents said no. Most people suggested that even when social networks are banned on company computers it’s not hard to find loopholes. “If a company bans social media on computers people will just access it on their phones,” answered one participant. Another stated, “The block is only on the corporate channel – which employees can work around.”
The reality is that use of social networks during work hours may be acceptable for some businesses and not for others. While it can certainly lead to decreased productivity when misused, we suggest that companies should educate their employees, outlining acceptable use in the workplace. Social media guidelines should be developed, especially in regards to the content that is posted, frequency of use and what accounts should be accessible to each employee during work hours. Those companies and individuals who use social media properly stand to reap many benefits that would otherwise be unavailable.
Does your company allow the use of social media during work hours? Email me and let me know- John