The Pros and Cons of Social Media in the Workplace
The recent and ongoing controversy surrounding BBC TV presenter Gary Lineker’s Tweets has brought the whole issue of social media into the spotlight.
The Gattinetts Business Centre provides workshops, light industrial units and office space to let near Dedham, and is home to a wide variety of businesses. Here we look at the pros and cons of allowing staff to use these platforms, and why it’s essential to have clear guidelines in place.
Studies have shown that allowing staff to use social media in the workplace boosts morale because it shows staff that you trust them. This is particularly true if staff ‘follow’ or are friends with each other. As a result, not only do staff communicate more with each other outside work, but the team is stronger and they generate more ideas for the business as a result.
Using social media also gives staff a break from their key tasks. If they are communicating with like-minded people they will usually return to work refreshed and happy. At the same time, employees can find out more about the industry through social media sites such as LinkedIn. There are also plenty of courses out there which staff can be encouraged to take.
Having a staff presence on social media will boost awareness of your business and its services, particularly if they retweet or share your messages. It also helps if they have your company name in their bio.
All of this increases your exposure to people who might not otherwise have heard of you, potentially bringing in new customers and extra revenue. This is particularly important for smaller rural businesses, who won’t necessarily have the ‘reach’ of some of their bigger competitors – social media enables them to reach a much wider audience and lets them compete on a more level playing-field.
Although studies haven’t been conclusive that it negatively affects productivity, it cannot be disputed that being on social media isn’t necessarily a core task of most jobs, social media specialists aside.
If you decide to let your employees use social media in the workplace you will need to have proper security and strong passwords in place. Otherwise accounts may get hacked and both personal and company data compromised. This is particularly a problem if the device being used is owned by the business.
Even if an account isn’t hacked, the problem of inappropriate messages remains. These can lead to arguments you don’t want to have with staff, particularly if your company is marked in their profile. Even if it isn’t, people may be able to work it out by cross-referencing other platforms such as LinkedIn. In Twitter and Facebook, this is called a ‘pile-on’, which doesn’t reflect well on the individual or the business.
Using social media can also lead to employees falling out with each other as a result of differing political opinions, and other viewpoints, which won’t do anything for the atmosphere in the workplace. Staff retention may suffer too, as such sites enable staff to be more aware of other work opportunities outside your business.
The Importance of a Social Media Policy
It’s vital that you have some sort of social media policy in place, be it rules or guidelines. However, guidelines are better than rules as these can be mutually agreed upon and give some room for flexibility, although this can still lead to confusion, as the Gary Lineker case has proved.
The areas it should cover include:
- General or specific advice about messages (including bad language and controversial subjects such as politics).
- Its use in the physical workplace (is there a restriction on hours? Should it be only done in lunch hours/free time?).
- Advice on profiles – whether or not to include the company name in the bio, and, if so, whether or not to add the rider ‘All views are my own’.
- Whether it should cover contractors or freelancers who also work for your business (which is again relevant to the Gary Lineker case).
The Gattinetts Business Centre – Office Space to Let Near Dedham
If you would like to learn more about The Gattinetts Business Centre’s facilities, which are located in East Bergholt, in the heart of beautiful Constable Country, follow this link.
If all our workshops, industrial units, offices and secured storage spaces – which are all ideal for businesses in Suffolk and Essex – are occupied, which they often are, contact us and we will put you on our waiting list and notify you as soon as something becomes available.
If you are interested in any of our workspaces you can call Anne Priestley on 07941 781489, leave a message on our site answerphone on 01206 299555, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow this link and fill in our online contact form.