Employees are stealing more time taking cigarette breaks than they are visiting Facebook. That’s the finding of a Ball State University study. Yet, many employers are more alarmed that their employees are spending company time on social networking sites, zapping away company productivity. To combat this, companies are writing policies that prevent all usage while others are putting up firewalls to block access.
Before heading down a similar path, employers should step back and evaluate the situation carefully. Survey after survey indicates that employees are in fact accessing Twitter, Facebook and other sites during company time, but their time away from work is limited.
Employers should legitimately be concerned about productivity loss as well as the potential for damaged reputations due to inappropriate postings by their employees. After all you want to control what employees may be saying and posting about your company, staff and customers.
Develop policies that clearly spell out how employees can utilize social networking sites, on and off the clock. Discuss what is expected and what is inappropriate. Educate your entire workforce. Employees need to know the rules governing their activity. But be careful about banning all usage. It is likely that it would not work and frankly, you may lose the legitimate benefits that come from social networking.
Social networking is here to stay. Have open discussions about it with your employees. Use it to your benefit.