Banning social media in the workplace

October-18-11

A practice that is spreading across the globe

Many of us can access the Internet from our phones or our tablet devices, and quite a few of us use the Internet every day at our workplace. But what would happen if the company you worked for suddenly decided to ban social media usage altogether, how would you react then?

It’s more common than you think:
According to the Work Life Web 2011 report published by Clearswift, many companies are banning the use of social media in the workplace. Mister Andrew Wyatt, CEO of Clearswift claims that the percentage of work related social media bans has jumped from 9% in 2010 to 19% in 2011, and he blames the fear of being hacked for the sudden increase. It’s true, many companies are afraid of being hacked. Earlier this year, Sony’s PlayStation Network suffered a major hacking that leaked the personal information of more than 77 million users across the world. Even if the event had nothing to do with social medial, the news of the hack spread across the business market like wild fire and now, of all the companies that we’re interviewed by Clearswift, 87% of them claim that they are worried about data loss (that fear is more apparent in Germany, Australia and Japan). This results in companies either monitoring the online activities of their employees or completely banning social media from the workplace.

Younger workers claim social media is a right:
It would be harder for younger generations of employees to accept such a ban because they claim to be entitled to access social media for personal uses, even at work. Many claimed that they would be ready and willing to work longer hours if they were permitted to use social media during their work hours. When Clearswift asked younger generations of employees what would happen if the company they worked for introduced stricter social media monitoring policies or decided to completely ban social media, 43% of them claimed they would be disconnected from work, would become demotivated and some of them would even consider quitting their job.

Harmony between the workplace and social media is possible:
There is another side to this story, while some companies ban social media usage in the workplace, some, on the other hand, embrace it. But, they are willing to put in extra time and management to train their employees on how to properly use social media at work and during their free time. When you work for a company, you represent them 24/7, social media doesn’t sleep and you have to watch what you post on your Facebook wall even when you’re at home. In the long run, that extra time and money spent on teaching employees how to properly use social media is worth it because it will improve employee morale and increase the brand exposure of the company.


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