Oh yes, the unspoken question in every office environment – mainly because everyone (even the boss) does spend lots of their time on social media during business hours!
There is definitely an ambiguous answer regarding whether employers can look at their worker’s social media accounts. Some argue that it is a breach of your personal life and some argue that anything published on the web is considered ‘public’.
Nevertheless, you should always think twice before posting that photo of you on one knee holding a beer funnel over your mouth with copious amounts of alcohol inside.
Personally I am fairly liberal with this argument of allowing social media at work because banning it entirely isn’t necessarily going to solve the problem and keep your employees focused. A much better situation is to allow a total of say… 20 minutes per day on social media (max!). This way the employees can have a break from work and worry about something else besides work for once.
Excessive use is no doubt a waste of time and productivity so if you are a boss make sure you have a fairly open mind towards it as long as your employees are up to scratch with everything.
Whether your boss lets you or not, it always comes down to trust.
There are several kinds of trustworthiness that people have over people and it is interesting to examine the different levels that people have.
This type of trust is in a specific person or organisation on a personal level (Kennedy & Sakaguchi, 2009). An example of this could be where you are a business owner and you trust the courier service to deliver your parcel because you know the owner of the company personally.
A type of trust based on something that has a lot of intangible goodwill attached to it. In other words it has an established reputation of being trustworthy. For example we would consider New Zealand’s big banks such as BNZ and Westpac to be trustworthy because they have never collapsed and have gone through many financial crises.
(Kennedy & Sakaguchi, 2009)
Trustworthiness that is based on the assumption that others are generally trustworthy and it will be better if I trust that person and will lead to better outcomes regardless of whether the people are good or bad.
For example: Giving every employee access to company credit cards. Although this may not seem like a smart idea, many small firms issue company cards for fuel and other expense, and it all does come down to a level of trustworthiness when these things are given to the employees.
This is a fairly liberal standpoint, which I take lightly to believe however I still believe that there must be a fine line between what you should allow others to do. For example I would not let anyone know my personal information such as IRD number however I would trust a few if they had authority and a reputation, even if I may not know them.
(Kennedy & Sakaguchi, 2009)
How about you take a step into the shoes of a big boss:
If you were in charge of 10 employees, what level of trust do you think you would have and why? Please let me know in the comments section and I will be sure to respond personally.
After establishing the levels of trust we must now move onto real statistics showing how employees interact with social media at work.
- The CEO of Zappos, Tony Hseih encourages his workers to frequent Twitter and he even provides classes on micro-blogging for them
- 94% of recruiters look at social media accounts of their potential workers before hiring them
- 21% of workers spend 1 to 6 hours using social media to assist them completing their jobs
- 39% of workers believe that having access to social media helps them be more productive
- 32% of workers believed (in a survey) that social media helped them work more as a team
- LearnStuff believes that social media accounts for a $650 billion loss in productivity every year
- In another survey it revealed that the main reason to use social media at work for employees was to communicate with other workers
- Of an 1100 person survey, 18% said that their employer blocked social media at work
Of all the positives and negatives derived in these statistics, we gain a better understanding of how social media use is viewed by both employers and employees.
Whether you agree with having social media at work, there is always going to be an opposing opinion. Thanks again for tuning into this blog post and I hope you found it informative! I have already asked you guys a question so please leave your comment in the comments section below and share if you found this useful and believe your friends/audience could find it useful also.
Also please check out all of the links I refer to as they contain much more information regarding their topics than I do – this is very effective if you wish to further research a topic.