November 2, 2009 – With so many businesses blocking their employees from using social media websites, we can only say that being out of touch is no way to do business. Of course no one wants their employees spending 6 hours of their workday on Facebook when they should be producing other work, but that isn’t ever really the case.
With the huge growth of social media in recent years, it is no surprise that many companies have this knee jerk reaction. Remember when companies banned email and even Internet use in years past? And now we can’t even imagine our days without using the Internet and email at work.
This ridiculous ban also flies in the face of study after study that reveals surfing the Internet or spending some of your work day using social media, checking personal email, etc. makes workers MORE PRODUCTIVE. Yes, it makes workers more productive.
In some imaginary universe where your driod employees never have any other thought in their head all day except “must complete project”, your employee would not have the need to spend a few minutes clearing their head, taking a break, and spending a few moments on something else in order to come back to their project with new focus. But whether your humanoid employees need to occasionally take a walk around the office (or the block), step outside for fresh air, stare out a window, have a conversation about football around the water cooler, or check their Facebook a few times a day, that downtime is NECESSARY for happy employees to get their work done without frying their brains in the process.
When it comes to social media in particular, this needless ban is even worse! How can you except to create a valuable social network presence for your brand if your employees aren’t allowed to use it? Social media usage can help your employees keep track of what is being said about your company or brand, get valuable information about a new client or lead, and act as a valuable tool and resource for your company as well as for your individual employee’s sanity at the office.
Employees are not going to lose their productivity if they are allowed to use social media occasionally during their workday unless they are bad employees to begin with. Employees are either responsible workers who can balance work and non-work, or they aren’t. Banning parts of the Internet in the name of salvaging productivity makes you look a little short-sighted for ignoring the potential of new, relevant technologies, and makes your employees believe you are treating them like children (almost ensuring they will act that way or leave).
Embrace the Internet. It’s your future.
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