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Should you allow your staff to use social media at work?

Rewind back to school days and how the use of your mobile phone in class could get you publicly humiliated or even worse, sentenced to a week of detention.

Fast forward10 years and you may find yourself in a similar kind of environment at work. There is much debate about the use of social media at work. Is it productive, is it relevant, is it rude?

One thing is for sure and that is that social media use is proliferating. Research shows that adults spend an average of over two hours and 53 minutes on social media daily. Due to the structure of our busy days, it is highly likely some of that scrolling-time is occurring during the work day. But don’t worry there could be some benefits to this.

Chill-time:

Firstly, social media allows Employees to have a break, to catch up on current events, to chat to their friends – downtime. Bottom line, a break in the day allows you to refocus, regroup and re-concentrate your efforts. So, what’s in it for you? Higher productivity levels and a happier team.

Boost professional profiles:

It’s not all fun, games and chatting. In fact, LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media portals for active users and can be a great professional stepping stone. Many Employers encourage the use of LinkedIn throughout the day. Not only can you network and connect with insightful people, but LinkedIn is becoming a breeding ground for thought leadership and opinion-led content.

As well as staff cluing themselves up on what’s relevant in their respective industries, they can even try their hand at writing their own content. Your staff are a reflection of your business and any efforts to boost their professional profile is a great reflection on you.

Communication:

Let’s face it, business wouldn’t be what it is today without the wonderful use of communicative media. Sure, texting is great, and email is the professional tool to use with Clients. However, there has been an increase in the use of WhatsApp for internal communication, and it can be great.

Group chats can encourage integration and great relationships outside of work. Whist this comes with risks, ultimately, a well-integrated team increases Employee satisfaction. Also, it can be really handy to send a quick WhatsApp to a team member when they are on the go, they may pick it up quicker than an email!

Precautions:

There is no smoke without fire. Whist social media can be a great and productive use of staff time, there are some things to watch out for to ensure best practice for your business.

1. Too much of a good thing

Whilst networking and encouraging professional relationships can be positive, over 69% of Employees in a survey of workers admitted to using social media to make new work connections. Also 47% of those identified social media usage as a means to find a new job. It may pay to be cautious of just what exactly your Employees are searching in their spare time to ensure you’re not losing your talent in the meantime.

2. Alienation

Let’s face it, grown-ups don’t like being told what to do. Enforcing a social media ban will not only irritate your staff but it could encourage them to use it more. The worst-case scenario is endangering your relationship with your Employees. Mutual respect and trust should be the base of any policy surrounding social media use.

If you are starting to face a problem with social media usage, it’s important to clearly set some boundaries. Subtle rules such as social media time on lunch breaks is fair. Or perhaps training around the creative and professional use of social media could be valuable for your team.

There are some clear benefits for your business to reap from the use of social media, the tricky part is outlining a policy. The main considerations are: that it is reflective of your company culture, that it is fair and that it will be respected by your staff. Get those spot on and you will soon start to see the bonuses.

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Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.   

Kate Allen

Kate Allen

Kate founded Allen Associates in 1998 out of a determination to build a recruitment business which delivered a bespoke service centred on the needs of clients and candidates.

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