Whilst the growing popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter has allowed us to connect with our friends, families and peers faster and more constantly than ever before, it has also raised the issue of whether we should be permitted to access these sites at work. In short, the answer is yes! These sites offer up a huge array of possibilities if embraced properly in businesses…
Arguably social media, much like the use of mobile phones, is something which should be left to the discretion of the employee. Understandably, companies are concerned about the content of these sites; it is often unpredictable and whilst an employee might be conscientious about the type of thing he or she posts online, her friends might be less so. However, images and links are often branded as ‘NSFW’ allowing the user to see exactly what they should and shouldn’t be clicking whilst on the company’s time. That said, employees are mature and sensible adults, meaning that, in theory, they should be capable of assessing the relevance and suitability of social media whilst at work. Isn’t it time we trusted employees as such? Companies who fail to extend this courtesy to staff will start to see a depletion of fresh, young minds joining them.
The benefits of social media in the workplace
Social media can also have a beneficial effect in the workplace. If your company or organisation does not have a Twitter account, then you are missing out on a huge and influential market. Likewise, companies who do use social media to reach out to customers, do so in a better way when they are personal, friendly and even humorous in their approach. Social media should be seen as the modern alternative to spending hours on hold to a customer service phone line. Encouraging an ethos of this in the workplace is encouraging a more contemporary approach to handling customer issues and concerns, whilst also extending a friendly hand out to new people.
Your own personal bulletin board
Social media can also be an alternative way of sharing ideas and messages amongst staff. Sites such as Edmodo allow schools to set up private social networks where only staff with the school’s e-mail address can join and get involved. This enables them to share resources, ideas, requests without clogging up the school email system. If embraced, allowing social media at work can actively encourage staff to be more interactive with one another leading to a more unified and generally happier workforce.
Social media is here to stay – so embrace it
The bottom line is this: social media is here to stay. It must be embraced as being a fundamental part of both the personal and professional aspects of working life. Staff, in this day and age, expect to be treated respectfully and equally and, as such, expect to be able to manage their own internet usage. Not only that but with the current generation of graduates and those to come, social media is only ever going to become more significant meaning that companies need to get involved or risk being left behind.