Social media is penetrating our lives, with people using it during down time, while out on the town and in the workplace. Recent statistics show that social media may actually be a good thing in the work environment, and blocking its use could be bad for business.
Restricting social media would affect business in several ways, especially current and potential employees. One in five job seekers, for example, say they would not consider a job if the employer did not allow them to access social media, and one in three college students today state that they would not work for an employer who didn’t allow them to use social media at work.
One study showed that students who use the internet for personal reasons are 9% more productive. Moreover, 26% of current employees would feel demotivated if their company strengthened social media restrictions, and 14% would try to work around the restrictions. As many as 3% of employees would even consider leaving their job.
Because of these employee attitudes toward social media, 24% of companies are changing their social media policies by reducing limitations on its use. In addition, business executives are on board with loosening their ties when it comes to social media in the workplace. 41% of executives believe that social networking helps build and maintain workplace culture and 45% believe that using social media in the workplace positively impacts that culture by helping employees build and maintain relationships, allowing managers to be transparent and fostering bonds between workers, the company and leaders.
But with good comes bad, and there are some obvious downsides to using social media in the workplace. While personal internet use may make employees more productive, social media platforms like Facebook can be a source of distraction. Social media sites can also hurt relationships and negatively impact a person’s mood anywhere, including in the workplace. In addition, allowing social media use in the office runs the risk of accidental posts and activity that can damage the company image.
Despite the downsides, employers and companies may find that many of the upsides of social media in the office may outweigh any negatives. Allowing employees to use social media in the workplace could benefit employees and employers and be advantageous to business in general.