Social media certainly has its disadvantages, however, there are so many benefits it can bring to the workplace, from communication to promotion. If a workplace has a social media ban, it is likely the employees are ignoring the ban and using it anyway, so finding beneficial ways to incorporate social media into work can be beneficial for everyone involved.
Employers should look to develop a social media policy stating what is acceptable within the workplace, and clearly state how it can work in practice. Of course, you don’t want staff taking selfies during work hours or mistakenly taking photos that have internal only correspondence in the background. But, there also needs to be a level of trust between employers and employees, so staff feel comfortable in the workplace without overly strict measures in place.
So, how can the workplace benefit from social media?
Provide your staff with mental breaks
Allowing staff to take a short and occasional break, where they can use social media if they choose to, can be beneficial to overall work productivity. As long as this is done responsibly, and staff know they still need to produce their work and not take advantage of this freedom, it can be beneficial to allow shorter breaks more often throughout the day.
Rules and expectations would need to be set out to ensure that this is not open to abuse and staff are not roaming around on their phones for a big proportion of the working day. However, it can improve overall staff morale and their relationship with their work if they feel free and trusted.
Positive brand representation
Business pages and social media accounts are hugely beneficial; however, people like to hear from other real people. Companies that allow their staff to share the happy environment of their workplace will engage and deliver a positive brand representation to a wider audience. For example, if a company are having a team lunch, supporting a charity or have a great offer on, their staff posting about it will show the interesting/positive side of a company people may not see otherwise.
Many companies have multiple offices or people working in different areas. Encouraging staff to engage and communicate with each other via social media will help people get to know each other and feel comfortable to ask questions and discuss work related topics. It can help to improve team-work and staff engagement.
Develop and grow
Amidst the rubbish online, there are so many great tools that employees can make full use of in the workplace. A dedicated employee may find information about the industry through LinkedIn, news stories and studies that allow them to grow and learn.
Recognise and retain employees
Both internally and externally, social media can be a great place to recognise the great achievements of employees. It’s a place to shout about work anniversaries, new members of the team and how someone has performed great that week. This will encourage employees to engage and interact by sharing or congratulating each other. In turn, it will improve staff morale and the overall feeling of being part of a team, leading to increased retention of staff members.
Social media is part of most people’s everyday lives now and embracing it in the workplace in the correct way can have a positive impact. Encouraging productive and positive use of platforms will see people be focussed on their performance and working as a team, rather than sneaking their phone under the table.
There’s no right or wrong answer to if social media should be allowed in the workplace, but with the right kind of policy in place, it can prove to be more beneficial than you might initially think!
If you need a policy for social media or any other policies, we can help, contact us today.