Social Media in the Workplace: Should Employees Be Allowed to Access and/or Use It?

Published October 4th, 2020 - 02:00 GMT
Social Media in the Workplace: Should Employees Be Allowed to Access or Use It?
Many experts are split between the many cons and the many pros of using social media during working hours. (Shutterstock: @Kinga)

Ever since social media has been part of our daily lives, many questions have been rising over the way we use it, the time we spend exploring different platforms, and its impact on our mental health and social interactions.

The use of social media amongst employees during working hours has also been an open conversation for years now, with many experts weighing on its different positive and negative consequences on productivity and performance.

Such conversations gain even greater significance especially as the role played by social media extends beyond day-to-day communication between friends and acquaintances to being platforms for political and social debates and discussions that are open and seen by the public, which has greatly affected human relationships, urging many corporations to contain its use. 

Many experts have conducted studies to learn more about the benefits that can be achieved by using social media during working hours, such as boosting the productivity of workers who take a number of mental breaks, strengthening personal bonds amongst team members, and facilitating their ability to find information online, others beg to differ.

However, in some cases, employees who were given the freedom to browse through their social media channels during work, seemed to get distracted from their actual jobs; mostly due to it being time-consuming and being a source of distraction as people get busy by keeping up with online conversations and having to respond to friends' messages, tweets, and comments. Also, many managers have seen their subordinates speaking badly about them on social media, causing untreatable damage in their relationship, which reflects negatively on their performance. 

Additionally, being an increasingly political space, expressing edgy views via social media has caused increasing rifts between coworkers, who change their views of each other.

All this aside, using social media via corporates' internet networks and computers can be a source of security concerns on the company's part, as social media accounts can be hacked or accessed by unwanted parties, opening the way for breaches and violations. 

The fact that many individuals discuss politics online; which sometimes harms their employers, is not the only reason a growing number of companies are now setting special policies for how their employees use social media during and after working hours. For example, some companies ask their employees to refrain from posting anything about work, including photos, videos, or reporting conversations. 

Do you use social media during work? What impact do you think it has on your performance? Do you adhere to a social media policy drafted by your employer? 

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