Photo: Dave Rutt / Flickr
Does social media have a place in the office? Some companies don’t think so. According to a research report by Clearswift, a software security firm, 19 per cent of companies are blocking employee access to social media sites at work, up 10 per cent from last year.On the other hand, a recent article on Human Resource Executive Online discusses the ‘cyberloafing’ at work and its effect on productivity, stating that web surfing “can actually refresh workers and improve performance,” according to a recent study by Don. J.Q. Chen and Vivien K.G. Kim called Impact of Cyberloafing on Psychological Engagement.
The authors state that Internet browsing is an important restorative function for workers, and when allowed to surf the web during the day, can actually increase their productivity.
Social media use at work is no longer limited to only young professionals or members of Gen Y. In actuality, social media users come from all age groups. According to the Pew Internet Project, the average age of adult social networking site users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010, and over half of all adult users are now over the age of 35.
How much is too much when it comes to surfing social media at work? This may vary by company or country, but moderation is key. A recent survey by GSN Digital touched on the matter, stating that 80 per cent of respondents who said they visit online gaming sites throughout the day “feel more focused on work as a result of periodic mental breaks associated with game play” – and 59 per cent of them said they visit such sites for less than 30 minutes per day.
Everyone needs a mental break at some point during his or her workday. Workers who enjoy using break times to check social media profiles and share content should certainly be allowed to do so. However, it obviously absolutely should not affect their productivity in a negative way.
While some organisations may want to restrict access to social media sites at work, doing so could be a hindrance to employees’ productivity. Additionally, it may just cause workers to check social media on other devices, such as smartphones.
What do you think? Do you think social media has its place in the office? Do you have any specific real-world examples to share?
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