Social networking is slowly taking over the Internet. People are using these sites to do more than just connect to friends and those who have the same interests, they are now being used to establish business contacts and maintain these business relationships. But, with all the information that people display on their social networking site, such as pictures that show them having a night out with friends, people are wondering do social networking sites have a place in the business world? This is an excellent question that many company heads are now asking themselves and weighing the pros and cons of the issue, as well as having the rest of the world weigh in on this decision.
It’s very easy to jump to the conclusion that social networking is damaging to productivity, but there are benefits. Ask yourself if the morale boost for your staff and potential for free marketing to their friends is something your business can afford to miss.
#1. There’s a morale boost: When considering whether social networking sites should be used in a business, consider the morale that it gives workers. They can have a laugh or two during the day that can loosen up the rest of their day so that they are ready to work.
#2. Free marketing to friends: Those workers who acknowledge that they work for that particular company are able to give the business free marketing to all their friends. When they comment that they had a great day at work, this makes the business more appealing to those that are looking for a great business to work for. In addition, when someone has a problem with a certain case that they are working on, they can reach out with their network and gain other people’s perspective. This can help bring a whole wider view of thinking that would otherwise be cut off if social networking was not allowed.
#3. You can never completely block social networks: Blocking social networking from occurring at work really does not work properly. With all the electronics that are available that allow instant access to these sites, the business is really only kidding themselves. You may block it on the computer, but otherwise, you have done nothing. If people want to find a way around the block they will, and all the hard earned money that you spent on putting these blocks in place are useless and a complete waste of funds that could have been used for something much more helpful.
#4. Form relationships with customers: Social media networking sites can help for your employees to stay connected to customers to form a lasting relationship, which is something that every business strives for.
There are many reasons why bosses have banned social networking in their business. But are they enough to convince you to block Facebook and Twitter et al in your office?
#1. Wasted time ‘poking’ people: For starters, people are obsessed with these social networks. They feel a need to let everyone know what they are doing during all times of the day, including the work day. This means that more and more employees are accessing the social network while they should be focusing on work for their boss. Therefore, in order to make sure that people remain on task, social networking has been banned.
#2. Increased susceptibility to attack: Using these social network sites at work can increase the chances of the computer being targeted for an attack. For example, many of the scams out there that involve social network sites obtain personal data from the computer in which the site is being accessed. If this were to happen at a business, they risk the chance of having confidential client information released. So for safety, these sites should be blocked from the business world.
#3. Greater scope for dissent in the workplace: Allowing social network sites to be used in the workplace can lead to arguments among employees as they fight over ridiculous aspects such as who is friends with who. This can only decease the productivity and the morale in the workplace. In addition, it can lead to more arguments that turn into a he said, she said sort of problem that does not help productivity in the least and can cause even more problems at work.
So, should social networking be banned? With the given information, social networking even if banned from use on computers in the workplace is still going to happen. For this reason, businesses should seriously consider allowing workers to access the social network sites in order to help the morale as well as keep those business relationships intact. However, there should be strict guidelines for when this social networking can take place. And workers should know that they are being watched and what they are saying is being monitored, this way to discourage any wrong behaviour and comments. Furthermore, the business can gain some free marketing from allowing their workers to utilise the social network sites, which is just smart business to begin with, why pay for it when you can get it for free, is a philosophy that most successful businesses stick with. Lastly, if you allow the workers to have access to the social network sites you are only helping their morale and boosting the opinion of your business, which will benefit you in the future.
Today’s guest post was provided by John Brook, a UK-based blogger and writer who spends much of his time reviewing business equipment for SMBs.
Image courtesy of http://www.studentsover30.com/workplace/office-politics/hate-my-office-cubicle-the-art-of-working-with-distractions-2/
I use social networking tools as part of my job, as do other members of our staff. At our company it isn’t a big deal if you check your personal pages as well, as long as it’s done in moderation. If you can’t trust your employees to monitor their own social networking activities, perhaps you’ve hired the wrong employees.