Yep, you’ve read that right!
Can allowing your employees to use social media channels during working hours actually help improve productivity?
As of 2019, there are around 2.77 billion social media users in the world, which is up from 2.46 billion in 2017. There’s no denying that social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So, as a business, where does this leave you? You have two options:
- Ban phones or run a strict policy on usage which will keep people off social media, but might make you look like a micro-managing maniac.
- Allow employees to use social media and trust them to be responsible – which can go one of two ways.
In the past, we’ve explored the pros and cons of allowing this luxury, yet there is now growing evidence to suggest that it may have a positive impact on efficiency and productivity in an office environment too.
Food for thought…I think so.
Here are some key reasons to support this notion.
Faster communication and feedback
What a lot of us forget is that social media channels like Facebook aren’t just a place to share funny videos, post pictures and get a timely reminder about upcoming birthdays, it has its own Messenger tool too.
This allows staff to communicate with each other quickly and effectively about projects they’re working on. After all, the quicker you can access feedback, the faster everyone will be at implementing those changes.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be the only chat feature you use. A lot of businesses prefer Slack or Skype. However, opening up this option means that people can easily reach each other in and out of working hours – which might be essential if there’s a pressing deadline coming up.
It’s also a useful means of communication if you have multiple freelancers or employees who work from home on a regular basis.
In an ideal world, all employees would work for every minute of their working day. But let’s get real, even the Terminator needs a rest from time to time!
Social media provides a welcome five-minute distraction from the stresses of work, enabling them to mentally switch off temporarily.
As a result, your employees will then revisit their work and tackle it with a more open mind. How often do you go to the toilet, take a shower (if you’re working from home) or just go for a walk and then return to your desk with a headful of great ideas? Well, it’s the same principle.
One source even suggests that allowing employees to browse social sites at their leisure actually increases productivity levels by at least 9%!
Contrary to belief, letting personal life mix into working life isn’t always a bad thing – it’s known as work-life integration.
While it’s still important to get the balance right, encouraging this work-life philosophy actually suits a lot of modern professionals who let work run into their private lives. To put this into context, recent research revealed that most employees check their work emails from home.
Once again, this goes back to the benefits of using chat tools on social media.
Pro recruiter top tip
It’s also your responsibility to encourage your staff to find the right work-life balance or they could start to suffer from burnout.
– Encouraging staff to take a well-deserved holiday
– Allowing staff to spend more time with friends and family
– Encouraging sleep by including sleep pods at work
– Providing healthy food to ensure professionals eat properly
You can read more about this in our previous blog: ‘5 Reasons Why Maintaining a Work-life Balance Is So Important’.
Boosts morale and relationships
Employee morale is super important when it comes to maintaining productivity levels. It keeps people smiling, communicating effectively and helps form special bonds – which all equates to a team who wants to work hard for each other.
According to research by the University of California Irvine, employees who use social media during office hours believe that they feel a huge boost in morale.
It’s a matter of freedom and telling your team that you trust them. Plus, who doesn’t love to break up a challenging day with a video of a dog singing?
Improves employee recognition
Social media is a perfect platform to celebrate the achievements of your employees as well. So, if someone has done something great for charity on behalf of the business, or has exceeded their sales target for the month, post about it on social media.
Employees can then share it across their own feeds and start to feel valued. It’s kind of like PDA (public display of affection). While PDA isn’t to the liking of every couple, it does tell the rest of the world that you are loved and you’re proud to be associated with that person.
Shout about your employees’ achievements from the rooftop and you’ll get them working harder in return.
Whether you’re a lover of social media or not, you must embrace it as apart of everyday life. So by allowing your team to browse when they want within work hours, you are showing them that you trust them.
However, don’t be afraid to put your foot down if they start abusing your trust. Misuse and overuse can happen, therefore, you need to make your employees aware that you won’t tolerate it.
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make.
Although, if you do allow it and employees use it correctly, there’s no doubt that it can improve productivity within your business.
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