Social media can be a powerful communication tool, with most of us relying on it daily. However, there has been some debate about the use of social media in the workplace and whether it’s appropriate.
But while some workplaces have banned the use of social media among employees during work hours, others are embracing its use. Social media isn’t just a tool for distraction, as some employers have found. Rather, it has the potential to make a huge difference to an organization and the wellbeing of its employees.
- Promotes your company
One of the biggest benefits of social media use among employees is employer branding. There’s tremendous value in employees posting their own photos or updates about life at work. These types of posts showcase what it’s like to work at your company and can include photos or statuses about team bonding weekends, office parties, awards nights or even quotes taken from your leadership team.
Employees posting to social media about their highlights from work helps to boost brand awareness, promote your company and its services, and show just how great it is to work there. Encourage employees to promote your company and unique events by starting a workplace hashtag. Employees can use this hashtag when sharing photos on Instagram, providing a platform where the public can follow your company and its work culture.
- Allows employees to take a mental break
Social media use allows for employees to take a quick “time out” to reboot. While the use of social media during important tasks or meetings should be discouraged, encouraging employees to take small social media breaks throughout the day can help to boost morale.
When used responsibly, social media can give workers short mental breaks they need throughout the day. Simply reacting to a funny comment or photo can give them the boost they need to get over that mid-afternoon slump and be more productive. Even 87% of seniors agree that social media helps them to keep in touch with family and friends, giving them that mental boost they need to feel good for the rest of the working day.
- Strengthens personal relationships between co-workers
Coworkers can use social media to engage with and interact with each other inside and outside of the workplace. The ability to interact outside of work will help strengthen and build personal relationships, contributing to a more happier and engaged workplace. A stronger relationship among employees leads to more cohesive and productive work teams.
This is essential to problem-solving, team bonding workshops, and brainstorming solutions that will contribute to the benefit of your company. As employees build more rapport among themselves, you’ll see a lot more opportunities to make your company a better place.
- Provides another portal for communication
In a world of new technology and the ease of instant communication, traditional modes of communication like phone calls and emails tend to go unnoticed or unanswered. This can cost workplaces time and resources. Social media provides another portal of communication that is instant and allows for better communication.
Since nearly everyone has a Facebook or a smartphone, you can be confident that your message through social media will be seen and heeded to. It’s also less likely for important topics to be missed or ignored when nearly all social media messaging platforms provide details of delivery and gives us a prompt when a message has been “seen” or “read.”
- Fosters self-development and innovation
Employers typically worry that social media use will kill productivity in the workplace. In fact, more than half of U.S. employers reportedly block access to social media at work. Yet some employers have found the opposite — that social media use sparks innovation and motivation at work. In one study, it was found that employees who use social media at work tend to be more motivated and come up with innovative ideas.
Social networks also provide a great vehicle for learning and development. Employees can use social media as a basis to compare their careers, interests, and activities with their peers as well as learn about new opportunities or pathways to help supplement their careers.
Social media plays an integral role in our lives, changing the way we live and work. Because of its prominence and our dependence on it, social media in the workplace is almost unavoidable. While many see it as a tool for distraction and unproductivity, when harnessed for good it can boost creativity, productivity, employee relationships, and even a company’s reputation.
Banning its use in the workplace can often lead to more turmoil, as employees feel inhibited or scolded for engaging in something that is a normal facet of daily life. Yet, when it’s seen and welcomed as an important tool to boost morale and mental health, workplaces will most likely see a positive influence from its use.