Will Being More Social Help Your Employees And Customers?
Depending on how you run your business, you’re either totally fine with your employees using social media during work or you’re one who either blocks access to such popular sites and discourages its usage.
For those in the latter group, stop and think for a moment about the idea that letting employees use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other such popular sites could actually lead to more productive employees.
If you think that is impossible, think again.
According to several studies, including a recent infographic from Keas.com, allowing your employees to use Facebook on a 10-minute break actually provides you with happier, healthier, and more productive workers.
In this particular study (Academy of Management), workers who were permitted to use Facebook proved to be more productive than those who were denied.
For the study, the employees were split into three groups – one that had no breaks, one that could do anything they wanted except use the Internet, and one that was given permission to use the Internet and Facebook.
The latter group was determined to be 16% more productive than the workers denied the Internet and close to 40% better in production than those given no breaks.
Whether it was the ability to talk with friends and family, do some online shopping or just browse the news etc., those given access to Facebook and the Internet seemed to be more relaxed and productive when all was said and done.
With that data in mind, where do you stand when it comes to letting your workers use the Internet (especially social media) during the workday?
If you have been rather restrictive up to this point, here are some things to consider:
Employee happiness – Yes, you hire workers to work for you, not sit at their desks with a happy face on all day. That being said, it only makes sense that happier workers will only in turn nine times out of 10 be more productive workers.
If you have banned Internet usage in the office other than for work-related purposes, consider trying 10-minute Internet breaks during the day. Given that many people live a good portion of their lives on the Internet these days, you may in turn discover that allowing them to use such 10-minute breaks online makes them happier.
They can use the time to pay online bills, shop, and stay in touch with family and friends.
Over time, some workers may not even want the online breaks, figuring they spend enough time on the Internet in their off work hours;
Employee mobility – With many employees possessing mobile devices, it only stands to reason that they are using the Internet on their actual and unannounced breaks anyhow.
Instead of putting workers in a position where they have to sneak around with their mobile devices to chat online, do some shopping, pay bills etc., giving them an Internet break or two during the day may encourage them to waste less time doing just that with their mobile devices;
Employee rewards – While many employees use a 10-minute break for a chance to unwind, smoke, get something to drink or eat, how about rewarding them for using social media?
You can set up a contest tied to your company social media sites, perhaps stating that the employee who has the most interaction with current and potential customers on Facebook, Twitter etc. wins a prize each month.
When you give employees some incentive to use social media productively for your business, it allows you to reach out to more consumers, meaning the potential for more sales.
There are many positive aspects of allowing your workers to use social media in the workplace, most notably the fact that it gives them more experience to better use it reaching out to customers.
If your workplace social policy has been to deny rather than allow, take a moment to think about whether such a policy is actually hurting your company in the long run.
What About You?
What is your policy towards social media at work? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.
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About the Author
With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of business topics, including finding the right used cubicles for your office.