It’s inane, distracting and mostly consists of cat videos, so banning your employees from scrolling endlessly on Facebook is a no-brainer, right?
With the unstoppable rise of social media, most companies have retaliated against the productivity killer by applying blanket bans on all networking – from tweeting to whatever it is you do on Google+. However, many leading minds, including influential entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, have come forward to say that social media bans are a terrible idea for workplaces. Here are five reasons why:
1. In reality, you can’t stop it.
When was the last time you were more than 3 feet away from your smartphone? You can try and ban social media, but employees will always find a way past that – mostly through using their phone. Instead of a culture of sneakiness and frequent toilet breaks, allowing social media shows openness and trust.
2. Social Media is a source of creativity.
Social media is full of useful information, mixed in with the Miley Cyrus think pieces. It’s how we check the news, learn, listen to opinion and share things that interest us. Social media isn’t just having a chat with our mates, it’s also a place to grow, inspire ideas and encourage creativity.
3. It hurts morale
Banning social networking at work shows a lack of trust – rather than boosting productivity, it could lead to resentment towards higher management and unhappy employees. This can affect the atmosphere of the company and lead to a culture of “us against them”.
4. Social Media is the new coffee
A 10 minute break spent on social networks is the new dawdling around the water cooler or taking a suspiciously long amount of time to make a coffee – it may distract the brain, but it also refreshes it. As long as an employee doesn’t fall into a Twitter-hole and spend hours on social sites, taking a break to have a quick surf can be beneficial to productivity.
5. Social networking can help your business
Social media sites can help with networking, connecting with clients (and finding new ones!), adding a personal and informal touch to your business, and can be a cheap marketing tool. Social media is also fantastic for market research, a great way to gauge trends and emotions. Thousands are now saved in working out what people want because they are on social media telling you exactly how they feel.
It can be entirely dependent on what kind of business you run, but with more millennials (who have grown up with social media) entering work, social media is becoming a huge part of people’s lives, both outside and in work, and needs a to be approached with an open mind.