Social Media in the workplace

Social Media in the workplace

Social media in the workplace can be a valuable tool for businesses. It can also cause serious problems on the job. Employers are faced with the need to develop social media policies that allow the company to gain positive benefits of social media use while minimizing the negative effects. Problems occur when employees abuse work internet access for personal use during work hours. Employers must decide if the use of social media outweighs the potential for negative impacts.

Thus far, social media has largely been limited to marketing and community building functions at companies. But a report from McKinsey showed that a majority of the estimated $1.3 trillion in untapped value from social technologies lies in “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises.” (Forbes) In other words, social media is poised to become an office productivity tool, much the same way that email did in the late 1990s. In 2013-2014, the idea that social media is a soft, networking tool will slowly give way to its acceptance as a serious business tool. The widespread use of social media has struck fear into some employers about decreased productivity, unwanted publicity, and a general increase in exposure for various work related claims. But, at the same time employers also have been able to harness social media for all sorts of benefits, not only with the products they sell or the services they provide, but also as an advantage to employee morale.

Allowing employees to access social media profiles online during work hours can be a distraction. Employees may lose valuable work time playing games, talking to friends and updating their own personal profiles. To keep employees away from the distraction of social media networks while on the job many companies have chosen to implement a social media policy to limit the use of company property for personal internet media. However, these policies are difficult to enforce if employees are allowed to use their personal cellphones or bring their own laptops to the workplace. We all have guidelines and rules in place so there won’t be problems. If problems do arise, the guidelines are in place so there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

In the video many staff members mentioned there weren’t really any rules regarding posting on social media. In all the post should be respectful and have some type of meaning for the post. The Department of Campus Recreation at Texas State University program areas use social media in different ways. Some use videos to promote upcoming events, some use it to highlight employees of the month, and to even let the audience know what’s going on in the upcoming weeks, months, or semester. Ultimately social media can have its pros and cons but if used right and monitored the right way the positives can outweigh the negatives. When you have no structure, that when things will begin to fall and crumble for your organization or business.

Another benefit of social media in the workplace is that it can be utilized as a public relations tool for companies. It allows a measure of transparency to the company through posts, blogs and pictures and makes the company easier to relate to for the average consumer. Companies can use social media to gather mailing lists, distribute sale and special offer information, showcase product pictures and post positive media reviews. Use of social media for work is a very inexpensive, and often a free way to promote the business to a wide audience. (Public Relations)

Whether companies or organizations like it or not, social media is part of your employee’s lives the same way as texting and checking personal emails is. Social media is also part of your business. Just because you’re not engaging in it, doesn’t mean your brand isn’t being talked about and just because you can hypothetically keep employees off it during “office hours” doesn’t mean they can’t go home and get your company in trouble from the safety of their home computers. It has been said that instead of completely banning social media from the work place begin to educate your staff on appropriate usage.  By educating them on the proper use, you grow a team of knowledgeable employees instead of creating an environment where folks don’t hesitate tweeting about things that could get them and/or the company in trouble. You should define social media and talk about what can and cannot be discussed. Creating a concise policy written with your specific industry in mind gives everyone clear expectations and boundaries to work in. The key for companies is finding the balance in how much web usage is good for the company without using the web too much or not at all.  Harmony can be difficult to achieve but the need to find it is there.

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