What keeps you inspired at work? Is it pay day, or your company-sponsored fitness membership? Is it the way your projects help fulfill your life goal?
You might answer yes to all these questions, but when your work situation is less than ideal, other connections may help you get up and go through the daily grind. These could be your friends and family, whom you can reach any time of the day thanks to social media.
Advantages of Social Media for Employees
Social interaction often beats financial rewards and other benefits when it comes to happiness at work. People’s social networks can help them get through bad days, which in turn can lead to better work productivity.
Companies also use similar social platforms to enhance team collaboration, helping people process projects more smoothly and on time.
Here are some of the ways where social media can help employees survive—and happily thrive—at work:
1. It gives them a chance to enjoy mental breaks.
Employees need breaks from work now and then, especially if their task is monotonous or mentally taxing. Sometimes it takes just a minute or so to relax in the middle of a hectic morning by looking at cute photos or watching a short video clip.
The “mini-breaks” offered by social networking platforms was the top reason employees in a Pew Research Center survey said that such tools were necessary in the workplace.
Breaks can replenish workers’ energies, providing the focus needed to finish their tasks.
2. It reminds people that there is more to life than work.
Busy schedules and tight deadlines can make an employee’s world seem stifling. Social media allows them to see life outside work by being able to check in with family members or friends.
3. It allows employees to ask questions and solve problems more easily at work.
Because social media works faster than email, people working on the same project can quickly update each other, exchange and combine ideas, and make decisions through platforms like Facebook Workplace, Basecamp, and Slack.
Social media also makes it more convenient to ask people outside the team about difficult or complicated tasks. The answers may not perfectly solve an employee’s problem but they can provide an idea for the required solution.
4. It forges closer personal relationships with colleagues.
Social media provides the opportunity for members of a team to exchange ideas and bond at work. It can even make connections outside of work, making teams more cohesive and productive.
This closeness can develop the attitude of looking out for and supporting each other, whether they talk about job-related responsibilities or personal experiences.
5. It can be used to recognize people after a major accomplishment or a successful project.
Appreciation and praise in the workplace increases job satisfaction and employee engagement. Recognition motivates individual workers or teams to exceed expectations and keep up the good work.
6. It expands professional connections.
Social media widens employee networks outside the company. It can be an outlet used to spread positive information about your organization, opening doors for new leads, fresh ideas, and increased business opportunities.
7. It helps make employees become ambassadors of your brand.
As mentioned in the sixth point, social media can help you build a positive brand for your company by tapping your own workforce. With the right guidance, your employees can share content that helps draw the right employees and clients to your business.
8. It boosts overall productivity.
Social media helps team members gel through supportive communication. This can result in a healthy workplace culture that encourages people to deliver their best not only for themselves, but for their teams and the whole organization.
Reasons for Banning Social Media
Despite all the touted benefits that social media can bring to a business, some organizations opt to limit or outright ban such platforms.
Some businesses don’t give social media access to employees due to the following fears:
1. Employees can get too preoccupied with its use.
Social media can be addictive. Workers might either lose focus and perform more slowly or rush and submit sloppy work after an extended time on any social media network.
2. Workers can get obsessed with attracting personal attention.
Employees might rely on social media for their sense of satisfaction.
Their work performance can be affected if they constantly check their social media accounts for the number of likes and shares their messages or images have earned.
3. Workers might be prone to online harassment or bullying.
When social media in the workplace becomes an intimidating and humiliating place for whatever reason, it affects the mental and emotional well-being of the victims, harming team collaboration in the process.
Issues between colleagues taken online might escalate into a company problem.
4. Improper comments can harm company reputation.
The branding and image of your organization might be marred by comments or images posted by employees out of anger, frustration, spite, or sheer carelessness.
5. Workers might use social media for non-business matters.
Without a clear policy, your workforce might be tempted to access social media for pornography, online gambling, and other activities that not only compromises company time but also the security of connected computer systems.
Video links and updates on social media sites like Facebook can also eat up the bandwidth needed by your company for actual operations.
6. Employees might accidentally or purposely share confidential information.
Related to the sixth point is the risk of exposing classified data and information—including usernames and passwords to your business systems—to the online community, such as scammers and other cybercriminals.
7. Virus or malicious code can enter workplace systems through social media.
Hackers might be able to penetrate your company’s systems through pop-up advertisements and downloadable applications that appear on social media platforms.
Create Balance Through an Effective Social Media Policy
Given the potential dangers of improper social media use in the workplace, organizations must develop an effective social media policy to ensure that these tools are used to the company’s advantage.
The policy should contain your company’s official channels and guidelines on how to use social media personally and professionally, specifically covering:
Guidance on behavior in personal media accounts.
Let your workforce know they are accountable for any threats of violence, harassment, hate speech, or racist comments they may make.
Be clear about what you expect from employees when stating their opinions about your brands or the company itself.
For example, Adidas requires its workforce to clarify that they don’t represent the company when stating their personal sentiments. Meanwhile, Walmart employees are instructed to avoid online comments about their employer.
Specify those who are authorized to speak for your brand on social media.
Define what crisis situations need to be reported as well as an internal communication plan to address them. Also explain and outline the approval process for responses.
Being compliant with the law.
Educate your employees about privacy, such as the proper handling of customer information and internal information.
Sanctions should depend on the seriousness of the offense. Clearly define which actions will result in disciplinary action and which will lead to dismissal.