Social Media in the Workplace
Now that social media has become so incredibly common, it’s natural for people to let this activity carry over into their workplaces and places of employment. However, users need to be increasingly careful and aware of how they use these resources while they are on the job and even when they are at home as the implications can pertain to their employment status.
In a world that is becoming increasingly online, many people don’t think anything of having one hand in social media at all times, even if it’s only from their phones. Everyone should make certain that they are aware of the company policy regarding the use of social media at work wherever their place of employment may be. Many employers discourage or even outlaw it because it can be such a significant distraction from their day to day work. Instead of actually accomplishing work for the company, those who are particularly invested in social media may spend the bulk of their day browsing these types of sites and getting little done for the job which they are getting paid for.
Nearly 70% of employers have created some form of employment law around the use of social media in order to reduce the amount of wasted time on the job. Of those who have laws pertaining to this, over half allow employees to access social media on company computers and time, even if this activity is not directly related to their current work. Many companies do have a social media presence, but this is distinguished from the more personal interactions employees have on there.
Employees should be aware however, that what they do on these social media sites may not be as private as they think. The company may be able to see their posts even if they have their privacy settings set to a high level, at least if they are posting on the company computer instead of a phone or tablet. Whether they are at work or at home, they need to be very wary of posting anything publicly or even in a private message that could be construed as criticizing the company or sharing privileged/internal information. Additionally, employers have been known to fire people for posting compromising photographs or offensive status updates simply because they feel it reflects badly on the company to have such an employee on the books.
The biggest struggle for anyone dealing with social media is knowing when to back away from updates or particular types of activity. People become addicted, which makes it difficult to accomplish anything when the social media is available. This is a particular struggle for those who work from home and have no one to police their actions. They can spend the whole day online and not get into trouble for it, but they will be dismayed to find that the day has passed and they haven’t gotten anything done. No matter where a person works, if social media can be accessed, it’s best to show restraint.