The great thing about social media is that it’s always available 24/7 anywhere we go. Many of us enjoy using social sites like Facebook and Twitter so much that we’re online all the time while at home and at work. Taking a few breaks during work to check up on some friends can go a long way though and has been shown to increase our attention span and efficiency by an average of 10%. But social media can be an addiction and if you’re not careful it could potentially eat away at your overall work productivity. Also the use of any social media could be prohibited depending on your given employer. So if you’re going to attempt to visit the likes of Pinterest or Reddit while on the clock here are some general guidelines to follow:
1 Turn the volume off on your computer
Start with the basics by eliminating your audio risk. You know that annoying sound Facebook makes when someone comments on a post? Your boss knows that sound too and it’s a dead give away you’re on Facebook. Sometimes you need the volume of your computer on for messaging and other alerts though. Consider then just turning the volume off for Facebook notifications and chatting . Also a set of headphones could do the trick. But be careful your boss doesn’t sneak up behind you now undetected!
2 Cover every angle
The angle of your computer is a key element to your survival on social media in the workplace. Preferably you’d like your back to the wall with a clear view of who is coming and going giving you time to hide any incriminating screens. But not everyone has much flexibility in their work environments within the cubicle matrix of the modern workplace so consider extending your screen area with a 2nd monitor. Not only will this double your virtual working space but you can position the 2nd monitor at a better angle.
3 Watch what you say
This should go without saying but watch your language while on social media even if your allowed to be on it at work. If you are accessing the Internet through your company there may be certain language filters implemented that pick up on specific types of phrases or bad words. Now it’s one thing to be caught using social media at work, but quite another to be caught doing so because of some unnecessary foul language.
Another way to try and go undetected on social media at work is to access the Internet through your mobile smartphone. Companies like Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr have gone to great lengths recently to improve their mobile user experience. The one problem is that typing away on your cell phone is visibly incriminating in itself, so try and escape to less visible working areas during extended browsing sessions.
Have you ever tried to open a site at work and got an error message that the site was blocked? Well a proxy server can help you get around that by hiding your IP address at work in order to by-pass company filters to reach blocked sites like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. A proxy is a server that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients looking to mask requests to other potentially blocked sites. By staying anonymous, your employers will never know about your social media activities.
6 Never ever befriend your boss (or accept their request)
Anonymity may be your friend, but should your boss ever be? It seems harmless at first, I mean what do you have to hide? But then all of a sudden your superior is watching your every move at work and now anywhere online. How long is it going to take before you post something your boss finds questionable or even worse offensive? Or the ultimate killer that embarrassing photo your friend just happened to tag you in. Do yourself a favor and avoid going down this road altogether.
7 Get your work done!
As a responsible working professional hopefully these tips can aid you in safely using social media at work. This guide isn’t intended to deter you from doing your job while at work but rather give you the necessary tools to enjoy some social media while still on the clock. After all studies show employees are 10% more efficient when they check social media regularly. Taking “microbreaks” between 30 seconds to 5 minutes can improve your mental acuity by an average of 13%. Nothing beats a real break like a walk or just resting your eyes, but a little social media in your work life can go a long way to keeping you happy and more productive. At the end of the day if you’re getting your work done who is going to question a little social media time?
Learn the social media policies of your work place. Is it ok to be on during breaks or not at all? A little Facebook action during the work day can be fun and release some stress, just don’t get carried away. Posting a picture of your lunch or rant about your fantasy football team might seem to be well served at the time, but is it really worth getting fired over?
Infographic Source: OnlineBusinessDegree
I got popped on IRC chat in 1998. Ouch.
Nice. My old boss once suggested “Hey, we should be friends on Facebook”. I didn’t say anything, just looked at him directly, dead level gaze and held it for about 10 seconds and he said “Oh, yeah, maybe not a great idea”.
Wise man Jeff 🙂
Fantastic article, Dan! I can’t help but think that I helped inspire the topic… Still working all the same old techniques.
Lol you’re a legend 🙂
Great post and like the images used throughout.