Eric Friedman | , , , ,| By
Does your employer allow you to access your Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking profiles at work? Is access to the outside world blocked? One of the most debated about workplace topics is does allowing access to social networking decrease the productivity of your workplace. Some would argue that if employees were able to access their Facebook or Youtube accounts that they would spend the entire day surfing the Internet.
Chances are if they were a good hire, they’ll check their accounts sporadically and will use it as a short and quick distraction to their productive workday. Talks of “I’m paying them to work, so I expect them to work their entire shift without distractions” is a moot point nowadays. If companies are still adopting this attitude they’re living in the past. Social networking as evolved into an essential part of communication and won’t be going away anytime soon. So why should all companies refrain from blocking social networking sites from their employees? Easy.
Transparency creates better business. Who wants to work for or with a company who isn’t transparent in all they do? Allowing your workers to use social networks can not only be good for business, but allows workers a break in their day. As a small business it’s important that a new client knows who you are and how you act around others by viewing your social networking. If you’ve privatized your Facebook then they aren’t able to see what type of person you’re like. Transparency in everything you do puts clients as ease and allowing the use of social networking at work, allows workers to build social capital that could end up helping your business.
Creating a network increases your business’s bottom line. Networking is and always will be one of the most important aspects of building a successful business. You want your employees to network and a majority of that will be done building social capital online. If your employees are fans of networking they will use Facebook and Twitter for the benefit of the company instead of to simply look at baby pictures (because let’s face it, Facebook is saturated with pictures of babies…and cats!).
Social networking effects morale in the workplace. Not only could your company benefit from the knowledge of allowing social networking while at work, but it always stands to lose some pr value if you’re known as the company who blocks networking sites. News travels fast in this digital world. Working for someone who doesn’t believe in the value of social networking for both work purposes and as a way to break up the day is not a good employer. People want to work for companies that are cool to work for. Productivity isn’t going to decrease because of an employer’s decision to allow social networking sites. When morale is high, productivity seems to reign, but when morale is low, employees get complacent which breeds an entirely new host of issues.
When the first Facebook profile opened back in the early 2000s—employers had no idea what it would sprout into. The debate around opening social networking at work isn’t a battle that will be won by an easy list of persuasion techniques, but statistics on workplace productivity. The Harvard Business Review projected last year that social media could increase worker productivity by as much as 20-25%. Not only that, but for the reasons listed above, social media needs to stay in the workplace. If you’re company is looking for cheap and effective ways to increase your bottom line, here it is!
Yay or Nay on Social Media in the Workplace?
Have you found social media in the workplace to be an effective way to retain top talent? What are your thoughts on employers blocking social networking sites?