Guest post: Is social media a distraction in the workplace?
Social media in the workplace
Social media is a booming market with a collective and growing statistic of 2.0 billion+ active users using social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, along with a plethora of other social media available on the internet. It’s something that affects us on a mental level and in some cases we are spending too much time on these types of websites, whether that be at work or at home. It’s why many businesses are using social media for advertising purposes and according to research by the IABUK1,social media spend went up by 383% in the last three years.
But, do the social media aspects of our lives affect our work? Does it make us lazier? Do we work less? Is the quality of our work affected due to lack of detail and attention? These are all questions that can’t really be answered in a linear format, as different workplaces have different structures and rules that either limit social media or give free reign to social media.
However, it’s quite often said that social media is an issue in the workplace2 and something that can distract workers, or can become a productivity killer. And, according to 26.4% of businesses in the Unum3 info-graphic they actively block social networking websites. On the other hand 52.1% of businesses allow social media access. What exactly does this tell us? It tells us that businesses are still productive otherwise there wouldn’t be the 52.1% statistic. To support this, almost 70% of businesses do have policies on social media and are right, in my opinion, to have restrictions on social media. This could be the line that has been toed when it comes to accessing social media to ensure high productivity and satisfied workers. I think there is a broad policy of “don’t use it too much” and “focus more on your work” than on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or Google+ at most jobs. Of course, there is no wrong or right answer.
How are businesses using social media?
The market for social media is a growing market and most businesses have capitalised on this and as previously stated, social media spend has gone up by 383% in the last three years. Whether it’s a local business that has set up a Facebook page or a big corporation that is trying to passively influence you with advertisements – businesses have already taken the step and continue to find angles to further their goals. However the whole social scene could be changing with Google’s presence which has already amassed 235 million active users within 3 years. This quite obviously means that businesses have several avenues to pursue when it comes to marketing and responding to news in a quick manner on social media sites like Twitter. It’s these types of responses that can either make or break a business’ online presence.
How does your company handle social media in the workplace?
I’ve worked jobs that have not allowed access to any social media or the internet for that matter. I’ve found that those types of jobs do not have high employee retention statistics and GWA4 has a report on this saying, “95% of employers say telework [Telecommunication] has a high impact on employee retention”. I think that the internet and social media provides that breath of fresh air or allows you to be more creative when it comes to the workplace. I’ve definitely found that to be the case with the jobs that I’ve worked and it’s great not being restricted to a local intranet like a mini-North Korea and just be able to access information that could also be pertinent to your job.
Info-graphic by the Income Protection company, Unum.