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22 Jun 2018

Social Media in the Workplace - Block or Allow?

Social media certainly has its benefits when it comes to being used in the workplace. Not only can it be used as a great form of communication between businesses, employees and their customers, but it can also boost morale and improve employee engagement.

A recent survey revealed that 65% of employees found that social networking made them work more efficiently. Similarly, nearly half (46%) of those respondents said that social networking sparked their personal creativity. Despite these kind of pro’s, there can also be disadvantages such as misuse, a lack of staff productivity and the severe risk of negative brand reputation. According to TeamLease World of Work Report, 13% of total productivity is lost due to social media alone! Before making a decision about the social media policy in your organisation, it’s important to consider a number of factors.


Deciding on the type of flexibility you’re going to provide staff with can be tricky. Are you prepared to allow them full access to social media and trust that it won’t affect their productivity? Silent access to social media can make it very difficult for employees to switch off whilst at work and can make it very tempting to have a quick glance at any notifications or quickly reply to that comment.

Brand Protection

From a brand perspective, allowing your staff access to social media can have many benefits. Not only does it allow them to engage with business stakeholders and provide a professional customer service, it can also prompt them to publicly display a happy company culture.

On the flip side, employees are, after all, your brand ambassadors and have the ability to steer brand reputation. Some may choose to use the opportunity to take to social media and express their frustration of a situation which has arisen at work. Content such as this can have lasting effects and prove particularly damaging for a company’s reputation. It’s therefore vital for businesses to ensure they are aware of their employees online behaviour.

Employee Safeguarding

Employers have a duty of care to their employees when it comes to ensuring their health, safety and well-being. Monitoring staff online activity can help employers understand whether there are any potential risks to an individual, such as bullying, harassment or wider mental health problems. Being able to pinpoint any issues which may give cause for concern allows businesses to act fast and provide the right support to those in need.

Smoothwall have the right solutions for you

In order to deal with issues such as the above, it’s important for businesses, and especially those with a larger workforce, to incorporate and effectively communicate an acceptable use policy. Whether you choose to implement a strict or more relaxed policy, employees need to be aware of company expectations, therefore, detailed content guidelines should be provided for all employees who regularly use social media both on behalf of the business and personally.

Prohibiting access to social media altogether can reduce morale and appear far too overly cautious and restrictive. Simply choosing to limit use by implementing a time-based quota, provides you with the ability to embrace social media with a flexible attitude, trusting your employees to use their time effectively. Applying a method such as this can make your employees feel valued and more likely to be productive.

Smoothwall’s Limit To Quota and Content Modification policies allow you to control user interaction across multiple social platforms, whilst selectively granting access on a case by case basis, depending on the role and remit of an individual. Our unique safeguarding suite also enables you monitor all online activity per individual user, highlighting any risk areas and providing further context around any potential safeguarding issues.

To find out more information, get in touch today. Alternatively, leave any comments below.

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