Let’s be honest now – everyone uses their social media at work, even if your company “bans” it. Then there are some companies that are using Facebook to connect with their employees. Not to mention CEOs who have active Twitter and Instagram accounts. And how would we get noticed by peers and future bosses if not for our LinkedIn accounts?
So is social media a do or a don’t at the workplace? Naturally, a lot of employers think that allowing social media can hurt productivity and attention but research says otherwise. According to findings in Harvard Business Review, “social media doesn’t reduce productivity near as much as it kills employee retention” and that any worries about productivity decline are misguided. What it can do, says the research, is actually make employees more engaged with one another (the same research also says that they are also more likely to leave a company but there are a lot of reasons to go with that too). [https://hbr.org/2018/05/employees-who-use-social-media-for-work-are-more-engaged-but-also-more-likely-to-leave-their-jobs]
Here are some reasons why social media is a yes...
#1 It’s a great short mental breaks
We know that short breaks are great for productivity, and social media is the best form of a short break. We’re not asking that you take a short break every 10 minutes but if you feel like you need to take your mind off work for a while, a cat YouTube video is the best way to unwind and then come back to your task a little bit more recharged.
#2 It’s an excellent networking tool
There are many social media sites and pages where you can strengthen professional relationships with people outside the company. Do a group search on Facebook and you will find professionals just like you sharing and exchanging ideas. This can come in handy in terms of gaining new ideas, finding out about business opportunities for your company, and even getting hooked up with a potential future employer.
#3 A great sharing platform
You know that group you found on social media? Say you’re stuck on a difficult work problem (like you need new ideas for a marketing campaign or stuck on a code). Your social media group may have the answer. The whole point of having a professional group is to exchange ideas and solutions, as well as gain a whole new perspective.
#4 Perfect for bonding
Your company may have its own social media page where all employees can join and contribute to. This is a great way to get to know your colleagues on a non-work platform and encourages communication as well as increase engagement. All of this will contribute to better team work and a more positive work culture.
#5 A win for companies
Social media is a great avenue for companies to connect with their employees on a more personal level. Talent have already confirmed that they prefer working with a company that recognises them on a more personal level. Using social media to acknowledge accomplishments, make work anniversaries announcements, introduce new hires and congratulate those recently promoted not only keeps everyone in the company in the know of what’s happening but creates a tighter bond with one another.
And why it’s a big no at work...
Like with every perk at work, there will be those who will abuse and misuse it. It’s pretty to safe to say that everyone is on social media during work hours; the difference is how much time. It’s ok to like a friend’s photo on Instagram; not ok if you’re uploading Instagram stories every hour on what your work day is like.
The takeaway? Be professional about your social media usage at work. Keep it minimal and do all the fun stuff after work. Your company can also track how much time you spend on them, especially if you’re using the company computer to visit your social media sites. You don't want to give your boss a reason why you’re not completing your work on time.
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash