Social Media in the Workplace and Its Influence on Employee Productivity

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Social media is the most common word everyone is aware of. People use social different social media platforms to share their thoughts, photos, and videos to entertain and get entertained in their free time. People use social media during their free time to get engaged in their social life. Besides professional life, people tend to share their social lives with their colleagues, friends, and families. The best way to get connected with people across the globe where distance can be compensated. People are eager to check for the notifications now and then. They wake up and check their social media accounts for any activities they missed while they were sleeping and check all social media activities even before going to sleep at night.

Employees check social media in the workplace for updates without knowing or knowing you. Social media has highly impacted on their lives. Socializing is equally important, whether offline or online. In this digital world, people tend to use their social media profiles to get connected with whom they haven’t met for a while, make new friends, form a community of friends, families, relatives and office colleagues. With advancements, social media allows doing businesses as well on a large scale where you can reach a humongous number of users across the entire world. It is seen that marketing through social media can generate more leads for a company.

Social media and the workplace has great chemistry. Social media in the workplace or at work may have some positive impacts and negative impacts as well. Studies have shown that almost every employee in a company uses social media at an average of one hour. Most people have been observed social media during office meetings when they get bored during long hours listening to their bosses. If there are benefits, then there are drawbacks as well, as every coin has two sides.

Social media has changed our lives, for better or for worse, since it first started gaining some traction in the 2000s. It’s not far fetched to say that it has completely changed the way we live, interact, work, get our daily news, and share opinions. The age-old hierarchical, regional, and cultural boundaries have become almost non-existent after the advent of social media.

It’s a fact that social media has made our lives easier, but has it made any better? Many people are not so sure. Even though social media allows effortless communication, it comes with its downsides.

In this article, we’re going to talk about social media in the workplace and its various effects on employee productivity. So without any further ado, let’s just jump into it.

Employee Productivity Stats

According to credible sources, 65 percent of employees report using the internet for non-work purposes throughout the workday. Also, the average employee is interrupted from their work 56 times a day. In large part, due to social media, the millennial generation is the least engaged in their work.

Social media in the workplace

An article Social media and the workplace by Pew Research Center says that “34% of people use social media while at work to take a mental break from their job, 27% of people use it to connect with friends and family while at work, 24% use it to make or support professional connections, 17% use it to build or strengthen personal relationships with coworkers, 17% of people use it to learn about someone they work with, 12% of people use it to ask work-related questions to people outside of their organization, and 12% of people use it to as such questions of people inside their organization”.

Social Media in the Workplace

Social media has both positive and negative effects on the workplace. However, its safe to say that its negative effects far outweigh positive effects. Read which of the following has the greatest influence on the impact of social media in the workplace?

Benefits of Social Media in the Workplace

Positive Effects of Social Media in the Workplace as following-

Positive effects of social media in the workplace

Increased Productivity

High productivity in one’s personality tends to give much better results in their work front. Every employee wants to get motivated and encouraged for their work. Social media helps them to manage the task of multitasking convincingly. They need compliments for the amount of work they have done and get more motivated in their upcoming tasks or projects.

Work Ethics

Some people are unaware of what the word ‘work ethics’ mean. Social media helps them aware of the work ethics of a company, which is highly important to make your presence is felt in a company else losing a job would be on the cards. Social media plays an essential role in creating awareness among employees about work ethics. Most of the companies keep listing their working techniques on social media, accounting for more than 30% on social media itself.

Mental Break

It’s easy for the workload to keep piling up until employees start feeling suffocated. They need a minute or two to relax and unwind. On social media, they can go through their feed and maybe watch some cute cat videos to help keep their minds off of work for a bit.

Over long hours of getting stressed for completing their task, employers allow their employees to take breaks in between. Do not get embarrassed about taking mental breaks from work. Everyone suffers from this issue. According to studies and surveys conducted, this is the most important reason for using social media to overcome mental stress during work hours. It is better to use social media for the same reason rather than disturbing other employees in their work as they may not be interested in talking during their tasks. All employees do not suffer from mental stress at the same time.

Solve Work Problems

Many companies have set-up their branches in different parts of the country or even across the world. Social media is a great platform to connect to those employees and talk about work and solve your issues regarding work. Maybe those employees have a better solution to the problem. Those people may tend to provide you more information that you were not aware of. Enhancing better functionality, resulting in better performance.

Global Connectivity

Social media makes it easier for employees to contact their friends and family in case of any emergency. It also makes it possible to share ideas and communicate when working on a project. Even when they’re confined inside their cubicles, they are still connected to the outside world.

Enhance Communication

Employees may put up their voices on social media regarding their issues overwork, where they can be heard. Anyone who thinks their voice is not being heard in presence, they may put up their problems on social media. And, getting a response from the employer enhances the smooth flow of communication. Hence, removing the communication gap in between them. For management to be successful, communication plays a key role. Social media is one such solution for the employees.

Branding

While everyone is using social media depending upon their requirement, Brands try to attract new customers by engaging them through social media. Listening to people from the real world is equally important. Regarding their views on the products of a brand. Just getting praise from employees doesn’t seem good as they may fake about their views to continue their work in a company. Social media is a great platform to reach out to other people as well.

Personality Development

It seems a little bit awkward in knowing how one can develop their personality through social media. But, Yes, social media may help in the personality development of employees. Employees get access to business models of business, statistics, more valuable information, debates, and the latest stories over social media. Dedicated employees may take advance of such activities on social media, which may help them flourish.

Morale Boost

Allowing to use of social media during work hours may improve in boosting their morale and their engagement. Getting connected to their friends and family during work hours whom they love the most will sense them that they are being valued in office. They will get a sigh of relief that you trust them overwork front. Happiness is the key to success, and if your employees are happy working in your company, its time to rejoice.

Monitor the Growth

Social media provides data regarding their reachability to the clients. Employees may analyze those data and know what is trending, which may help them in improving the business of a company.

Innovation

Allowing employees to use social media may improve their working techniques. Some may even tend to provide innovative ideas as to how to grow a company. A sense of entrepreneurship arouses in them, which may benefit a company.

Awareness of Existence

Make your brand socially visible to reach out to most of the users that may, in turn, become your client or customer. Many companies suffer loss, and some may have to close their business due to a lack of clients. Make your presence over social media using unique marketing techniques to make people aware of your business. Reaching out to targeted clients offline is very difficult. Here social media may help you out, making your existence worldwide at ease.

Recruitment

Recruiting new talents may be a tough task when recruiting offline by advertising through print media. Social media platform like Linked in is highly in demand for recruiting talented people across the world whose existence you may not know otherwise. Most recruiters are posting their vacancies, providing complete details about the job, which seems to be an easy process. From experienced employees to new talents, LinkedIn has more than 300 million people registered searching for desired jobs across 200 countries. Such professional networking platforms get access to those talents across the globe just at the tip of a computer. Better the talent, better for a company to grow. Many more social media websites are used for recruiting. Facebook gaining popularity in recruiting by posting its advertisement in specific groups created for employment.

Customer Service

Make your presence on social media and engage more customers towards your brand. A sense of responsibility comes to the company to get connected with customers on social media. Listen to their queries and respond to them quickly to gain their trust in your brand. Better customer service leads to better growth of a brand. Gaining customers’ trust is the most important. Getting connected to customers over social media seems to be highly benefited.

Employee Recognition

Social media is a great platform to recognize employees’ accomplishments. Recognitions allow us to interact with such employees and create a team that may help in the growth of a company. Recognitions may improve an employee’s morale. Employees may get connected on social media and may interact very often to discuss their problems, and getting better solutions may benefit the company in many ways.

Boost Brand Productivity

Using social media to the highest potential may help in boosting an organization’s productivity. Social media at work may increase brand productivity by more than 20%. Marketing techniques are to be monitored over social media to enhance their productivity. Social media is the cheapest form of advertising cutting out expenses made by print media.

Professional Connections

Employees may use social media to connect with people outside their company. They may be working for other companies. Creating formal relationships with them seems possible only across social media. These relationships may turn out to be an advantage for a company by generating leads, getting new ideas, and more business opportunities across the globe. LinkedIn is highly preferred to create such professional relationships strengthening the business growth of a company.

Employer Branding

Allowing your employees to use social media for posting positive things about your company. It may be like sharing articles, posting funny thoughts of day-to-day activities, sometimes even videos, and live-streaming about how your employees are working in coordination and work culture. All these things will show how happy your employees are. Hence, boosting your brand.

Low Investment

Social media is cost-effective and provides higher reachability to users. Budget constraint companies are using social media at work to mark their presence across the globe with ease without spending money on offline advertising, which is a costly affair. Just at ease over the internet and good marketing techniques, you can save money. Most of the companies have their presence on social media to increase productivity and better business growth.

Life Outside Work

When you’re stuck inside office walls for the whole day, you slowly forget about life outside work. Countless tasks and responsibilities can quickly suck the energy out of you, essentially making you miserable. But social media in the workplace can remind you about life outside work and the reasons why you’re working so hard.

Negative Effects of Social Media in the Workplace

Negative effects of social media in the workplace

Can Be Addictive

The word addiction usually conjures up images of drugs and alcohol, but recent years have introduced us to a new form of addiction known as social media.

Social media allows easy access to photos, videos, posts, songs, and books from all over the world. They get to consume an infinite amount of content daily. In the end, they always want something more and slowly become addicted to social media. They fail to realize that social media can only provide them with some temporary contentment and can’t give them any real fulfillment.

Employees addicted to social media work at a slower pace than their peers. They have small attention spans and produce sloppy work, making them mistake-prone and possible liability to the company.

Detrimental to Your Privacy

People tend to overshare on social media all the time. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and say something that you don’t really mean. It can easily backfire and harm your privacy, allowing people to judge and form a false opinion about you.

Your colleagues will also behave in the same way. You may think that they understand you, but no one knows what’s going on in someone’s head. It’s even possible for them to use that knowledge against you. After all, we all know how vicious office politics can get.

Cybersecurity Risk

Social media in the workplace using the company’s internet may lead to cyber hacks. All data regarding an organization may be stolen by hackers, which no organization wants to suffer. The cybersecurity may be a nightmare for an organization.

Attention-Seeker

Young individuals can easily turn into attention-seeking prima-donnas by following their favorite influencers on social media. Plus, social media is built to make people anxious about the number of likes and shares on their photos and posts. It will make users want to spend most of their time trying to please irrelevant people.

Adults aren’t immune to this sort of behavior. Their craving for attention could smoothly go overboard and make them dependent on social media for some temporary sense of satisfaction and contentment. It can negatively affect their work ethic and productivity.

Negative Mental Health

There are a lot of articles and studies done on social media and its impact on the mental health of its users. Communication on social media is inherently different from communication in the real-world. It often leads to a false sense of security that quickly crumbles when faced with hostility or challenge.

Those who depend on social media for validation likely suffer from low self-esteem. They continuously suffer from depression and anxiety, making them unfit for most work environments.

Demeaning Remarks

It’s always tempting to vent our frustrations on social media. Especially for employees who had a hard day at work. In the heat of the moment, they can share or post something that can come across as discriminatory. It can easily go viral, putting you and your company under the spotlight.

Misunderstanding

The misunderstanding may occur when any news or update is taken in the wrong way. It may harm the reputation of a brand. To understand it better, take an example of Snapdeal versus Snapchat controversy. CEO of Snapchat stated that it is not for developing countries like India. Indians got furious on his statement and started uninstalling Snapdeal instead of Snapchat. It caused a major blow to the Snapdeal business.

Distraction from Work

Using social media during working hours causes distraction among them. Most people get curious to check their social media accounts in between work. It causes their focus to shift from work. Most people have been caught checking their social media profiles, watching videos, and even playing games. The decrease in productivity has been observed when employees use social media excessively. Low efficiency may run down the business of a company.

Harassment

The darker side of the social media most people is unaware of. Sharing personal life events on social media may lead to bullying by their colleagues. It creates differences among employees affecting the productivity of the company.

Brand Reputation

Social media at work can boost the brand, but a single mistake made on social media may destroy the reputation of a brand. You have to understand what content to post there, which does not annoy your customers. Irrelevant posts or any disheartening post may lead to disasters.

Time Waste

Posting content that doesn’t interest the users, then you are almost wasting your time on social media. Again, leading to less productivity. Social media for personal use may also be time-wasting when used excessively during work.

Guidelines

Using social media to provide confidential data of the organization may lead to business in the loss. Thus, proper guidelines are to be framed and informed to the employees regarding the use of social media. Many competitors try to contact the employees through social media and try to gain valuable information regarding the business work of the company.

Technical Risk

Allowing the use of social media while downloading various data or applications from the internet may lead to a virus attacking computers. All important data stored in a computer may be at high risk. The system needs to be formatted, which may cause in loss of such important data of the company. Employees must be tech-savvy to be aware of such issues while you allow social media at work.

Exploitation

Companies are being targeted on social media. Companies are at high risk of being exploited on social media by their false accusations made on social media to defame the company and bring down their business.

Misleading

Social media is being used by the competitors to bring down the business of a company by providing false information about the products and services. Competitors try to post negative comments about the company affecting the growth of a company. Every company needs to beware of such competitors on social media to save its business.

Social Media Policy in the Workplace

Social media policy in the workplace

I think it’s now quite clear that workplaces need social media policies in place. The following are some guidelines to consider in a social media policy for all employees.

Proprietary Information

It can include almost everything related to your company. For example, images of future products, details of development meetings, whispers regarding legal matters, etc.

Competitors keep a close eye on your social media accounts, so if an employee lets slip something important, you can be sure that they’ll take advantage of it.

Headquarter Photos

Some offices don’t want their headquarters to be photographed. If your company doesn’t post photos of its headquarters on its social media profile, then you should take the hint and avoid taking photos in certain rooms.

Personal Opinions

Most companies state that they don’t care what their employees post on their social media accounts. Still, things can get tricky if an employee decides to talk negatively about his/her company or employer.

Employees essentially represent a brand, so they need to be careful about whatever they post on social media.

Workplace Disagreements

It relates to the personal opinions mentioned before. Even if you had a bad day at the office, you can’t post something like, “OMG! Work was so depressing today!” because it can negatively affect your company’s reputation.

Privacy on Social Media Apps

Some apps like LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t private, so you can’t hide your posts there. The only thing you can do is delete your previous posts. Or use apps like Facebook and Instagram that allow you to protect your information from others.

Monitoring

Now, this doesn’t mean that companies have the right to spy on their employees’ social media. They just need to monitor brand mentions on social media with the help of tools and searches.

Companies can also use employee monitoring apps, like the Staff Timer app, to quickly identify disgruntled employees using inappropriate language.

Conclusion

After comparing the positive and negative aspects, positive aspects are winning the race. But even a single mistake made on social media may harm the business of a company. Social media is a great platform to boost the business but only when used efficiently. Excess use in the wrong direction may eventually lead to failure. Social media is rapidly spreading across the globe, reaching out to millions of users. Employees need to be trained on social media in the workplace to improve employees’ productivity and performance.

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