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The explosion of social media has significantly changed the way people communicate both at home and at work. With tablets, smart phones and smart watches giving immediate access to social media accounts, news and notifications, social networking online has become a cornerstone of our daily routines.
However, it remains a hotly-contested topic, with some people arguing that social media has no place in the office and others staunchly advocating a connected and social media savvy workforce. Here, we have compiled a list of pros and cons of social media in the workplace.
1. Allows employees to take a mental break
Research has long demonstrated that productivity is enhanced by regular mental breaks. In fact, most organisations already actively encourage their employees to take plenty of brief breaks during the day.
Social media offers the perfect opportunity to take a short break away from a difficult task without significantly disrupting workflow by getting up and walking around or engaging in chit-chat unrelated to work. Used responsibly, social media can give your employees the short mental breaks they need.
2. Strengthens relationships between co-workers
Co-workers can use social media to interact with one another and build better relationships. Not only does this mean a happier workforce, but a stronger relationship among employees leads to more cohesive and productive work teams.
Social media in the workplace is an easy way to post questions and find job-related information— prompting idea sharing, problem solving and innovation.
It’s also great for improving company-wide communication, particularly if you have multiple offices and/or remote workers.
3. Enhances brand awareness and reputation
Social media is a great tool for creating and establishing a buzz around your brand. Encouraging employees to share interesting content about your company and post about how much they enjoy their job will boost brand engagement as well as your status as an employer — helping to attract and retain talent.
1. Causes distractions
Perhaps the most obvious and immediate problem that arises with social media in the office is it allows people to have constant access to their friends and can be a huge distraction with a significant impact on employee engagement and productivity.
2. Bullying and harassment
Constant access to intimate details about people’s personal lives can lead to harassment and cyber bullying (or ‘trolling’). Social media is an open forum for employees to pick on each other. Cyber bullying can have huge consequences for a victim’s mental health and wellbeing, and measures should be taken to avoid this scenario at all costs.
Similarly, some employees may use their own social media accounts to publish their views of their work, their employer or other employees, causing considerable damage to workplace relationships, their own career within the company, and even the public’s perception of the brand.
3. Brand vulnerability
Unfortunately, the added brand visibility facilitated by social media also means that silly mistakes can be costly as they are made public and can reach a far larger audience.
One step further than silly mistakes with serious consequences is deliberate sabotage enacted by disgruntled customers, ‘trolls’ and employees with insider knowledge of the company. This has been shown to be particularly dangerous in cases where employees with access to company social media pages have been let go and posted malicious, offensive content on behalf of the business, causing untold damage to the company brand that is often impossible to undo.
As with most technologies, there is no single right way for an organization to use social media. However, used with caution and with good strategies in place, social media can benefit employee recruitment, retention, engagement and communication.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.