Employees, social media and the impact on productivity

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Why limiting your employees' use of social media is a good idea

Despite the emphasis on how useful social media is in terms of increasing the presence of your business, sites such as Facebook and Twitter can also be the bane of any manager's life as they desperately try to tear their employees away from their personal status feeds and get them to focus on their actual jobs.

And according to employment law specialist Bibby Consulting & Support, the problem can be so damaging that companies need to implement strict policies to govern just how much time their workers spend on their social media accounts.

"Companies need to get tough and implement a strict policy. Having a comprehensive set of rules will help staff remain focused and so will drive up productivity," said the organisation's managing director, Michael Slade.

What's more, as well as the evident productivity cost - a firm with 100 staff could lose over 16 working hours every day if each worker spends only ten minutes checking their Facebook - there's also the potential for colleagues to get distracted by anything going on in their personal lives.

Indeed, this is not only a problem with social media, but also when employees hide their mobile phones behind the ring binders to check for any texts from friends and family.

As such, Mr Slade also recommends that workers be prohibited from using their personal phones at their desk to ensure that they stay on task and that their attention does not wonder.

While it's important to draw a line between being too imposing and showing a bit of flexibility, it seems that a direct and unequivocal strategy in terms of social media usage could be vital to maintaining output and avoiding unnecessary disruption.

But whatever it is that you decide to do, it's important that senior members of staff set an example for all colleagues to adhere to in order to avoid any debates or conflict.

Posted: 21 August 2012

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