A June 2016 survey conducted by Pew Research Center showed that 77% of the 2,003 surveyed American workers reported that despite workplace policies limiting or prohibiting social media use, they still got on social media while at work anyway. 77 percent. It’s apparent that despite pervasive and prohibitive rules on social media in the workplace, employees are going to do it anyway. From a CEO’s point of view, it may be seen as distracting, a waste of time and money, and a drag on productivity. From the employees’ POV, it keeps up their spirits and morale in sometimes soul-crushing, dispiriting work environs, which, as they see it, increases productivity. So, what’s the most beneficial course of action here? Should employers harshly penalize an already smitten-by-low-morale workforce brewing with disloyal feelings, or should managers and department heads capitalize on their workers’ propensity for social media and make it work for them, too?

Social Media

Drawing up an effective and productive social media in the workplace policy is a big first step. Such a policy should take into account the following factors on how allowing your employees to access social media during work hours could likely end up benefitting the company:

  1. Provide social media break time. Just like coffee or lunch break time, having social media break time allows people to connect with kids and other family members, and people in general to orient themselves and be active on their favorite social media sites, which stimulates morale and the overall community sense, which in turn helps keep up office morale and a sense of social connectivity. You could call it “away from desk time,” and leave it open to any activity they wanted to engage in, such as shopping or taking a walk, e.g., so staff members feel more openness about it. Also, it could allow associates to speak to one another across Web-based platforms, increasing communications, knowledge, and a professional rapport that’s beneficial to staff and corporate execs alike.
  2. Consider the official research findings and facts. Again, consider the findings of Pew Research Center, which found that 56% of employees polled believed that being on social media during company time helped their job performance. When you consider how sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook feature business accounts by the millions that have users who provide tutorials and salient knowledge related to all manner of industries, being on social media is actually a must for today’s clued-in, Web-connected worker, specialist, and executive.
  3. Get your business socially-connected and you won’t feel excluded. That is to say, by having your company featured on multiple social networks, you won’t feel that your workers are engaging in something verboten, and worthy of punishment. Rather, you will be more liable to see the fresh new possibilities in having your employees be socially connected on the Web. This could then feed into a social media policy that says, “As long as you’re connecting to friends and family, go ahead and make a post or two about the company as well, through the company’s account.” Or, better yet, have employees get on business social media sites like LinkedIn and expand the company’s professional network! Many companies already feature social media marketing managers as part of their staff.
  4. Officially incorporate social media into your business operations. If you’re saying, “Hmm, now there’s an idea” to that instead of, “Oh yeah, we have, like, 12 corporate social media accounts already,” then you’re behind the times. According to a LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report, 47 percent of the nearly 4,000 hiring managers surveyed named social media “the most effective employer branding tool.” Seeing the expansive benefits for company and staff alike yet?
  5. Use social media to encourage team-building and collaborative projects. Social media is simply the Web extension of our home and work lives, offering greater connectivity and marketing potential than that found in an inert, non-connected office that treats social media as an indulgence. Seeing it as the great tool for bringing people and projects together instead will benefit your company to no end!