The hazards of a permeable business network are a frequent topic of conversation and the subject of many articles regarding the risks of hackers gaining access to your and your customers’ personal information. However, the pitfalls of social media use in the workplace are significantly less publicized, but no less real. Exactly what are the effects of using social media while at work? What should you be concerned about when it comes to your business and your employees? Most importantly, how can you adapt your office to counter these stumbling blocks?
Social Media Causes a Loss in Productivity
Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has become the most-visited social media platform, amassing a staggering 2.41 billion active users, a number far greater than the population of even the world’s largest country. How many of these active users are accessing social media at the office? More than you may think.
In a survey conducted for the purposes of the World of Work Report, TeamLease found that 62% of workers globally claim they utilize Facebook while at work. In a similar American survey, Pew Research found that as many as 77% of US workers access some form of social media during the workday. Nearly half of respondents claimed that the purpose of their social media browsing is to connect with loved ones or take a mental break from work, indicating that this social media time has little to no benefit for the employer.
If employees use social media for personal reasons that don’t benefit your business, the resulting loss in productivity can wind up costing you. In fact, employees report spending as much as 43 minutes on social media throughout the day, leading to a 13% decline in productivity. Since even a 20-minute daily stint on social media can wind up costing minimum wage employers $880 per year, the aggregated total of $650 billion American businesses lost to diminished productivity last year becomes an all-too-real pitfall of social media use in the workplace.
Social Media Can Cause Workplace Conflicts
Beyond lost productivity, social media can impact your small business in other ways. In the aforementioned Pew Research poll, 17% of workers claimed to use social media to learn about coworkers, while another 17% claimed to use social media to strengthen work relationships. However, 16% of those admitted that the information found actually lowered their opinions of their coworkers, while another 24% have written a negative post about another employee or their employer.
Most small business owners are well aware of the positive impact social media reviews and comments can have on sales, but it can be all too easy to miss the conflict social media confrontation can have on your employees. Negative interactions can lead to a further loss of productivity or the loss of a good employee due to a poor office environment. Besides the in-office strife and the need for manager mediation, which costs precious time and money, negative social media interactions taking place in the office and resulting in harassment or libel can necessitate legal action on your part.
How Can You Prevent Social Media Use From Impacting Your Small Business?
With the potential negative outcomes, social media use can have on your small business’s workplace, seeking a solution is just good business. In general, businesses typically use one of three methods to reduce the impacts of social media: social media monitoring, social media policies, or productivity programs. Are these effective?
Unfortunately, 77% of employees admit to ignoring their employers’ social media policies, necessitating some other form of countering potential productivity loss. Monitoring personal social media accounts from your own personal account can result in legal complications you may not want to undertake; meanwhile, blocking all social media access may not be feasible depending on the nature of your business and the degree to which its social media presence depends on the contributions of your employees.
Avelera’s PEAK features allow you to monitor and effect change in employee productivity with the use of content filtering, white- and blacklist abilities and blocking apps. At the same time, we recognize the benefits of occasional employee brain breaks and the necessity of scheduled, productive social media use for many small businesses. Get the best of both worlds and access your PEAK productivity with Peak. Learn more today.
Curious how much productivity you’re losing? Check out our Productivity Calculator tool to see how much you could be saving your small business yearly.