Is Facebook a true media to connect the world? Is it a repository for family photos and what you made or ate for dinner?  Maybe it is where you get the latest news from your favourite bands? Is it a big marketing scheme to track how your demographic shops? Facebook in the workplace – is it a necessity or is it a complete distraction?

Almost every company in today’s market uses Facebook to connect with their clients – Banks, Insurance companies, Entertainment companies, the latest gadgets, online shopping, etc.  Facebook has many utilities and it really is a brilliant way to reach out to clients and potential customers in a very passive/aggressive fashion.  How does it affect the individuals working for a company?

The work environment has drastically changed over the last decade.  As more people spend their work days in front of a computer, employers want to ensure those hours aren’t spent on social media. Liking, sharing and commenting aren’t allowed in one out of five workplaces.  Today many employers block access to Facebook on company computers. But does banning social media at work really boost productivity or does it hurt morale?

Pros to Facebook In The Workplace

Productivity

productivityProductivity is all about balancing the workload and banning employees from Facebook is like banning them from talking about football at work.  A happy employee is a productive employee, or so the saying goes … For some, checking social media is a way to relax for a moment away from work.  Others may go for a walk, or take a moment to regroup themselves.  Since we allow employees to take breaks throughout their shift, some companies believe they should allow people who enjoy Facebook the same freedom.

Morale

Many companies find that allowing their staff to use social media during work hours a positive for their company and boosts morale. Bernhard Warner for Bloomberg BusinessWeek writes, “Workers who are encouraged to tweet, chat, like, and Skype on the job are among the most productive, new academic research says, shooting yet another hole in the managerial argument that social media in the workplace leads to goofing off and slacking on company time.”.  Whereas an overly restrictive company may witness employee morale declining. A ban, blocking social media sites, tells employees that you do not trust them to monitor their own time and productivity.

Promoting your company

promoting companyLife has to do with people, and so do businesses. Every employee is a potential salesperson, recruiter, or buyer. As such, his or her social circle is key to all areas of the organization. It’s the foundation for collaborating with parties outside the company. The employees’ networks can define a great deal; from the company’s reputation to the knowledge of its products and services.

Disallowing social media at work can take away important opportunities for employees to promote the organization and network in ways that can help the company. Social media also acts as a way for the employee to grow their network and stay connected in the industry—which could help the organization.

Cons to Facebook In The Workplace

Time-wasting

Time-wastingWhile it can be useful to know what your friends and family are up to, Facebook can also be a significant time waster with no real value. A quick check of the site can turn into half an hour of scanning photos, videos and company brand pages that you don’t really have any interest in.  Banning social media while at work could, theoretically, minimize the lost productivity that comes with excessive time spent online by employees. Many of us know first-hand how quickly time passes when you get caught up scrolling your news feed.

Reduced Employee Relations

Although it was previously stated it improves interaction, this is not always the case. Social networking – which is often used for communication – can actually hurt employee relations within an organization. Cyberbullying is a huge problem in the modern world. Coworkers may harass or send negative messages to one another and hinder teamwork. Also, an employee having a bad day may post an update on social media about how his coworkers are annoying, and their colleagues might see the message and realize that it is aimed at or written about them.

Increased CyberSecurity

cybersecuritySocial media is yet another potential place for confidential information to be leaked. By banning it, that reduces risk. Hackers can commit fraud, launch spam, or even launch companywide viruses through a social media platform. It’s important to protect your network with the same level of security that applies to proprietary business information.

Usage Guidelines

Facebook In The WorkplaceEmployers must develop clear policies and monitor social media to prevent employees that choose to use the platform to vent about clients and the organization, post confidential information, or even to post potentially offensive material. It is crucial for employers to provide clear guidelines on what is appropriate use so employees can have clarity and reference as needed.

When considering integrating social media, such as Facebook in the workplace, it’s important to understand the potential negative risks noted as cons. Once you understand them, however, you can take precautionary steps to alleviate them. This will allow your organization to experience the benefits of social media in the workplace.

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