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We recently asked our likers on Facebook the following question: Should businesses allow their employees to use social media during work hours? And here is how they responded:
- 32 – Yes
- 23 – No
- 1 – Don’t know
Surprised by how close the results are? I was!
In the last edition of Solutions Magazine (our exclusive magazine for our SageCover customers) the team asked two people with opposing views what they thought, and this is what they said:
NO…says Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at Employment Law Advisory Service:
“We’ve banned access to social media during work hours. When we did allow employees to use it on their computers during lunch breaks it was being abused. It extended beyond messaging friends to games like Farmville, and in the end we had a few disciplinary cases.
“In my view it’s a question of how far you want productivity to take a dive, isn’t it? People can be on social media sites messaging friends and playing online games all day and all it takes is a click of the mouse and they’ve covered it up.
“I see the point people make about trusting your staff, but for some it’s so addictive and your trust ends up getting abused. It’s like being a child in a sweet shop for some users.
“We have seen more productivity since taking the decision. We do allow internet access in lunch breaks and everyone is free to message their friends outside during breaks on their own phones, and we have no problem with that.
“It’s interesting that there is a big split on this among our clients. We have a real cross section. A lot of them do allow access but many restrict it to break time. They also sometimes come to us and say that it’s being abused, and ask what to do.”
YES …says Paul Bay, director of marketing and strategy consultancy Citizen Bay:
“I truly understand why some people are against it but the genie is out of the bottle now isn’t it? It’s a dead argument because most young people access the internet through their phones. Are you going to ask them to keep their phones in a pouch at work?
“There’s also a wider point about trust. It’s surely a bad sign if you don’t believe in your people and trust them to be responsible. If they are spending too much time on Facebook, maybe you’re not doing enough to ensure they enjoy working for you.
“We had this debate about allowing people to look at the internet years ago. Individuals have to find a balance, and the company culture has to be such that everyone feels committed to their work. There will always be times when they skive for five minutes to set up socials.
“Best Buy in the US allows store staff to tweet any responses to any concerns or questions about its products instead of having a call centre. It means they are collectively offering trusted advice and improving service. If the guys on the shop floor are also tweeting and Facebooking for their own entertainment, I think the downside is outweighed by the upside.
“I’m sympathetic to the concerns, but for many businesses generally there’s a huge opportunity that just needs to be prudently balanced with a sense of responsibility.”
But, what do you think?
Does using social media at work make you better connected to you customers and make you better informed about your business? Or are you wasting valuable time with pointless status updates about your lunch or what shoes you are wearing?
Melissa Beckett, SageCover Team