With the rise of social media in mainstream society, and the place it has now claimed in the daily lives of, I dare say, the vast majority of Western populations and even beyond, businesses must consider implications of such technologies in the workplace. Many business owners and managers choose to ban social media outright in the office, with recently conducted research from Ricoh UK finding that almost half of UK businesses have banned Facebook, 34% have banned Twitter, 31% have banned Snapchat, and 29% have banned WhatsApp; and that may just be a mistake.

The primary reason that companies make the decision to ban social media in the office is usually the matter of distraction. Whilst it is true that some small number of employees may abuse the situation, wasting more time on their various networks than they should, this is more likely a problem with the employee than the tech and they would likely find distractions elsewhere if social media was not an option. In fact, various studies and workplace assessments carried out over the years have linked social media use in the office to heightened collaboration, creativity, and ultimately, productivity.

These networks are ingrained into the daily lives of much of the modern workforce, and it is due to this familiarity that it can have such a positive effect. They know how the software works from the offset, which saves time over other largely unknown office communication software. It also facilitates the creation of genuine friendships outside of the working day, which will boost happiness and morale throughout the team and lead to a more effective workforce less likely to jump ship due to job dissatisfaction.

Furthermore, an outright ban on social media in the workplace can actually harm your brand’s reputation in the wider business community; as such ‘draconian’ tactics as they are often perceived are likely to lead to job dissatisfaction among employees and their eventual departure from the company. These former employees often end up in the office of a competitor, and tales of such occurrences may cause problems when it comes to finding new talent. In smaller industries this issue is exaggerated by the close nature of such industries and the individuals working within, as they are fairly likely to discuss these matters at industry events or as they begin a new job.

Ultimately my device would be that while social media use in the office maybe should be limited so as to ensure that all staff members are spending the time they should on important assignments and tasks, an outright ban will never serve you well. By allowing your workforce to use such networks in order to find a comfortable, effective and productive way of working, you may find that your business as a whole performs better.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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