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How Businesses Should Handle Social Media At Workplaces

Updated on October 12, 2014

If it is said that work culture has drastically changed from what it was a few years back, it is not an exaggerated statement. Thanks to the advent of the Internet and the mind-blowing growth of social networking sites, people including employees wish to spend at least some time on these sites. They share, like and comment on these sites but the fact is there are a number of organizations that do not view this kindly. Some of the employers go to the extent of blocking access to these sites.
Statista, a New York-based firm, has done a good research on this. The purpose of the research is to find if blocking of these sites or banning them will improve productivity at workplaces or if it will hurt the sentiments, morale or enthusiasm of the employees.
According to Angelo Kinicki, a Management Professor at the State University of Arizona, it superficially makes sense to view the time employees spend on such sites as time wasted and block the sites. He asks if employees concentrate on their work continuously for 8 hours. He points out that a normal human mind cannot have such concentration levels. He emphatically says that if employees take short breaks, they will be more productive because those breaks will reenergize their minds. Sharing, commenting and liking on social networking sites may be equal to or even better than sending and receiving personal emails or having small talks with colleagues at the canteen.
Kinicki does not deny that if employees spend longer hours on these sites, it should certainly not be allowed. But a diversion of about 15 minutes can enthuse and refresh employees. So, banning social media completely may negatively impact employee morale.
Firstly, it may impact the enthusiasm of the younger lot among the employees. Very importantly, employees may think that the management does not have trust in them nor do they support them. So, blocking the sites may rob their enthusiasm and this may ultimately dent their productivity levels. Employees know their responsibilities and if they have assignments, they will not waste their time on these sites.
Employers should understand that they can never disallow breaks for employees. That being the case, there is no harm in allowing them to spend time on their social networking sites. Even if employers block the sites on the office computers, employees can check them because almost every employee may have a smartphone.
Companies cannot block social media sites because almost every company uses these sites for promoting their business.
Instead of banning the sites, the best way is to impart better behaviors in employees so that they realize their responsibilities and spend only reasonable lengths of time for networking on these sites.

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