Blocking Social Media In The Workplace

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Recent trends show that more than half of US employers are blocking social media access at the workplace. A variety of fears have led to the restriction, led by certainty that time spent on Facebook or Twitter is productivity the company can never get back. By implementing a complete block of social media, leaders and managers are able to rest easy, secure in the knowledge that their employees are spending their time doing the work for which they’re being paid. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is… Blocking social media access is a costly exercise that simply doesn’t work. Employee use of social media in the workplace doesn’t necessarily adversely affect productivity. There are distinct advantages to allowing -- and even…show more content…
Employers who figure out the right balance will be more competitive. Those that don’t will be left behind. The Futility of Blocking Do you have a smart phone? An iPhone, a BlackBerry, a Droid, a Palm Pre or any of the dozens of other models available? You can surf the Web, access social networks, send and receive messages on Twitter and engage in all kinds of other online activities. So can your employees. Blocking access to social sites via your company networks won’t stop most employees from engaging in the same behavior the blocks were designed to prevent. Ann Cavoukian, privacy commissioner for the Canadian province of Ontario, has called blocking a mistake. “It’s like waving the proverbial red flag in front of your staff -- it’s almost a challenge to them to find a way around it,” she is quoted. She adds that blocking social media access is counterproductive, with the time employees spend finding a way to the sites they want to visit being more time-consuming than actually visiting the sites. Productivity Trends Tell the Story If worker productivity is at an all-time low, why do US Department of Labor statistics paint a different picture in which productivity continues to…show more content…
There always have been, long before computers were introduced to the workplace. Addressing this problem is a management issue, not a technological one. (Does anyone really think that somebody genuinely wasting time on MySpace is suddenly going to become a shining example of productivity because IT blocked access?) Supervisors need to manage by exception those employees whose use of social networks genuinely is affecting their productivity. There’s more to the productivity issue, though. Among knowledge workers, the fact that they are networked means they can work anywhere. Think about it. Do you check your email on your mobile phone as soon as you get up? That’s a work-related activity at home. Employees review reports while at their kids’ soccer games. They take overseas calls after dinner. They draft reports before bed. Thus it seems disingenuous to not include the time employees spend doing work when they’re not at the office in your

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