Social media is terrific when it comes to branding, business promotion, and marketing, but it should have limitations in the workplace to keep employees productive. When it comes to setting social media guidelines at work, business leaders should be looking for that sweet spot by implementing some basic guidelines and best practices.

Finding a Social Balance

When it comes to employee relations and organizational branding, social media can be a true benefit. Allowing social media in the workplace gives employees the power to stay engaged, but it can also become a distraction from their true work if they take advantage of it. This has become especially true as many people continue to work remotely post-pandemic.

Finding that workplace balance when it comes to social media can be tricky. The best way to achieve a good balance is to implement social media best practices in your workplace and have a policy in place that all employees are familiar with in order to set expectations upfront.

Social Media Best Practices

One of the first steps businesses can implement is social media best practices. Start with creating a social media strategy and policy for your company. You can research social media policies online and consult with a business attorney. Rather than banning social media use in the workplace altogether, business leaders can leverage its use as a promotional and marketing tool to help increase sales.

You will also need to get employee buy-in. Include employees in the policymaking process if you are just getting started with developing a social media policy. You might start by allowing employees to use social media on their breaks to increase engagement and give employees a much-needed brain break. By including employees in the process of crafting policy, it will feel more democratic and you’ll likely get more buy-in as a result.

Here are a few other best practices for social media in the workplace you can implement:

  1. Ask employees to connect, like, and follow your company on social media platforms.
  2. Encourage employees to use social media for networking such as with business partners, vendors, and colleagues to build better working relationships.
  3. Use social media to promote workplace events, give kudos, and get employees excited about their place of employment.
  4. Employ monitoring software to keep an eye on employees while they are using company devices if you are concerned employees are abusing social media during designated work time.

What Research Says

Research regarding the use of social media in the workplace shows unrestricted use can have a negative impact on productivity, but with the right guidelines in place such as when or how often social media can be used at work, it can improve productivity.

Employees that use social media to interact with their colleagues are often more motivated and tend to produce more innovative ideas in the workplace, according to one research study. Social media, in short, is a great way for staff members to engage with one another.

Studies also show employees who use social media at work are more engaged with their company than those who don’t use it. One potential downfall is, as staff members network with one another, there is a chance they could leave your business for other opportunities.

The good news is that the benefits of social media in the workplace outweigh the drawbacks. Here are a few benefits of social media at work:

  • Allows for networking and building connections.
  • Can be an easy method for providing answers to employee questions.
  • Gives employees a break during the workday.
  • Can inspire staff and stoke employee curiosity and creativity.
  • Provides employees a sense of freedom in the workplace.
  • Can be considered a perk, increasing productivity and reducing turnover.

The report Social Media Policies: Implications for Contemporary Notions of Corporate Social Responsibility discusses this topic in-depth to tackle “the increasing use of social media by organizations and their employees, the burgeoning presence of social media policies, and the heightened focus on corporate social responsibility.”

For example, when it comes to crafting a social media policy, you may wish to include something along the lines of what is written in the aforementioned Social Media Policies report, “We recognize that you will use social media channels outside of work time in a private capacity. However, such use can still have an impact on your employment. You are required to act in the group’s best interest at all times and this extends to your participation in and use of social media channels.”

When you do develop your social media policy, we highly recommend reaching out to a business attorney for assistance. Business attorneys often have experience in this arena and typically have standard templates you can use as a starting point in addition to what you are able to find online.

Disadvantages of Social Media at Work

The major disadvantage of allowing social media use in the workplace is time. According to Statista, the average person spends 145 minutes per day on social media. That equates to two hours and 25 minutes every day. If your employees were allowed to spend that much time on social media each day, their productivity would definitely suffer. This is where allowing only so many minutes of social media per day during breaks and lunch can limit the time employees spend surfing.

Another consideration is that social media can break down in terms of irresponsible posts or comments. People have been fired from their jobs for posting inappropriate, rude, or insulting content on social media. During the onboarding process and implementation of a new or updated social media policy, be sure to talk to employees about social media expectations, on and off the clock.

Contact ORAM Corporate Advisors at (617) 933-5060 if you have questions about implementing a social media policy at work or software to monitor employees’ social media use. Our experts are here to help make your workplace productive and secure.