Thursday, 12 May 2011

Half of UK businesses ban social media at work

A study has revealed that almost 50% of UK companies prohibit employees from using social media at work.

The research, carried out by Lewis Communications and HCL Technologies, found that from the 2,500 businesses surveyed, 48% ban their workers from posting updates on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.

So, whilst previous research has shown that social networking should be encouraged at work as it boosts moral and improves productivity, it seems that many companies still take a dim view of employees mixing business with pleasure.

And in a week that sees the very act of tweeting brought into the legal limelight with the super-injunction cases, it’s worth considering why businesses are still afraid of social media.

Most companies are comfortable with staff taking ten minutes out for a cup of coffee, a cigarette or a chat in the canteen. So what’s wrong with staff posting the odd status update or firing out the occasional tweet?

There seems to be a notion that employers are worried about sensitive information leaking to the outside world, or employees writing detrimental things about the company. But people can leak information or bad-mouth their employer outside of work hours anyway, so I don’t think that’s the real issue here.

It’s the seamless integration between work and social media that is really concerning companies. It’s all too easy to get distracted when a steady stream of tweets and status updates are arriving in via a minimised browser. Moreover, it’s difficult for employers to know when this is happening, whereas walking off for a coffee is more noticeable and transparent.

And then there’s the issue of smartphones. Even if employers block certain websites at work, most people these days have mobile access to social networks.

So, a blanket ban does seem a little absurd. Surely a ‘during allocated breaks or lunch-time’ approach would suffice, with employees’ contracts clearly stipulating that anything bad written about the company on a social networking website (either during working hours or otherwise) will lead to disciplinary procedures.

People should be trusted to manage their tasks effectively. If employers feel the need to force people off social networking sites completely at work, it’s akin to them saying they don’t trust their staff. Not the best way boost morale in any workforce. What do you think??


Anonymous said...

Hi Guys
I think it is a matter of getting the right balance. Certain jobs require total focus on the job in hand so a receptionist for example who answers a phone occasionally and waits for visitors to arrive occasionally would not be the same as a call centre telephonist who is paid to answer almost non stop calls.

There is of course the moral issue of doing what is expected for the price (wage) agreed upon. Some employers think that they own the employee and try to control every breath they take and squeeze out blood from them if they could under the guise of getting their monies worth from them.

The employee of course has to remember why they are in the work place and what they agreed to do in exchange for their pay. If everyone was reasonable about these things peace would prevail. Unfortunately what is reasonable to one is not necessarily reasonable to another.

To make matters worse health and safety issues have been stretched to their limits. e.g. I recently heard of a case of council care workers looking after elderly and disabled "clients", an electric lamp had blown and required changing. The carers who were quite capable of changing the lamp were not allowed to do so as it was designated a job for the electricians. (Working and caring for clients in the dark was probably not in their spec either). When the electricians arrived they could not do the simple job of changing a lamp either as they had to receive a work permit and complete a risk assessment and method statement or safe system of work before they could even enter the area.

Time is money my foot! time to change lamp 2 seconds time to prepare for change 3hours now I would call that unreasonable.

As far as trust is concerned it works both ways.
Force should never be considered a solution as there is always a choice.
best wishes

Post a Comment