Should Businesses Allow Access to Social Media At Work?
In a world where social media is our connection to our friends, family, acquaintances and business contacts, as employers, should we restrict the use of social media at work? Read on to find out more, and/or vote on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HallofFameMarketing and give us your thoughts.
As employees, do we believe we should have access to social media whilst at work? Initially, employers only really had to deal with the use of mobile phones in the work place for access to SMS and MMS messaging. They now have to worry about accessing mobile phones for social media use and general entertainment.
Whilst it is easy to develop and monitor mobile phone use at work, for staff that have access to a computer at work, it is a more difficult equation. It’s tempting for management to restrict and prohibit employees from accessing social networking sites. They don’t want valuable time wasted. Many of my clients are grappling with developing and monitoring a social media policy for their staff. Some key questions are:
- Should staff be able to check/update their social media platform status at work?
- Is it acceptable to let staff use their work computer to play in the social media space (and/or play games) during their breaks?
- How in-depth do we mandate in our social media policy as to what can and can’t be said?
- Do we have the resources to police such a mandate?
- For businesses where our staff can be a useful asset in helping build our brand, how do we optimise this opportunity with social media?
Where a computer is part of the daily work life of an employee, I believe it is worth developing and implementing a policy. Social media isn’t something you can ignore, and if you don’t have a policy (other than restricting it all together), you do not have grounds for disciplinary action if required.
Here are some basic recommendations when grappling with this issue:
- Don’t dictate that staff can’t ever talk about their job or check your networks from the office.
- You probably already have a policy covering breaks and using company resources such as e-mail landlines and mobile phones for personal use. Those can be applied nicely to your time spent on Facebook or Twitter or any social media sites.
- Provide some basic guidelines and what to say and not to say in social media with regards to the company.
- Get legal advise in terms of wording for a social media policy and be aware of your rights as an employer.
- Don’t abuse the privilege and be seen to be wasting time
- Don’t collect porn, pass on dirty jokes, links or sexy pictures
- Don’t play Farmville or any other games at work
- Don’t bag out your employer or work mates
- Don’t talk about clients on social media
- When developing and managing your own profile, always be mindful of who has access to your information and what image you are portraying.