Despite rules, social media used in workplace

A recent Pew Research Center study found that American adults employed on a part- or full-time basis say social media plays some role in the lives of many American workers. The study highlighted trends for how employees are using social media at their job – professionally or personally.

What I found most interesting about the study was the percentage of employers with social media policies and the share of employees that use social media at work.

Fifty-one percent of adults say their workplace has rules about using social media while at work and 32 percent report that their employer has policies about how employees may present themselves on the internet in general.

Those rules seem to have a mixed effect on employees. Fully 77 percent of workers report using social media regardless of whether their employer has a policy in place. However, 30 percent of workers whose companies have an at-work social media policy say they use social media while on the job to take a break from work, compared to 40 percent whose companies do not.

No matter the reasons or the policies, in the end 56 percent of these workers believe that using social media ultimately helps their job performance. Twenty-two percent believe it mostly hurts their performance, 16 percent feel it doesn’t have an impact and 4 percent see benefits and drawbacks.

So if you want to have a social media policy at your company, go for it – it might be followed, it might not. But if you want your employees to improve productivity, it may be worth it to let them take a break and check their phone, as long as they aren’t working on a task that is client facing.

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