I recently overheard someone compare employees using social media sites to taking breaks for smoking at work.
As someone who has spent HR time in production and manufacturing environments, I am all-too-familiar with the battle employers face over smoke-break abuse. I remember when our company installed a card-reader on the smoking area door so employees had to swipe to get back in the building. We pulled the records to find one employee was visiting the smoking area an average 17 times daily for 7 – 10 minutes each time. That’s almost 3 hours per day of smoke breaks — while ON the clock!!! Unbelievable … And of course, we addressed that issue with that employee. But that’s not the point of this post.
The point is, after overhearing that comparison, I wondered: Is Social Media (SoMe) use at work the NEW Smoke Break (SBs)?
Yeah, it kind of is.
Knowing this, I still say employers should allow Social Media use by employees. Just like Smokers are given a designated area and generally allowed extra breaks, Social Media users should also get consideration. Neither habit is going anywhere — so employers have to manage it.
Here are a few things to remember:
Social media is here to stay, whether your organization has embraced it or not. Until the company decides its own strategy, there should be a way to ensure employees can use it — without abuse, overuse or misuse.