Social Networking in the Workplace

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One of the things I have noticed is that the corporate world has not kept up with the changes in technology and human interactions. We all know that most larger offices in particular block social networking sites such as Twitter and FB as well as others. Yet many of them have pages themselves on these sites. Really this type of attitude is much like the days when employers wouldn’t allow personal phone calls. Really, all it says is that they don’t trust their employees. The funny thing about this is that if I was to walk around to the IT department of my own employer you see members of the IT team on these sites and MSN etc. I know a few IT Administrators and they admit that a lot of the time these bans have nothing to do with productivity and corporate direction and more about the IT Department’s advise to Management. To add salt to this wound, the reason they usually give is that they believe that either it’s to save bandwidth or that if they allowed access it would increase their workload because they would have to spend more time on security.

We really are in a world now where networking and social media is the way to grow your business or build a positive profile. People need to be trusted in the first instance and in the end if they do their job then let them have that social aspect. It’s important for workplaces to realise that in order to increase productivity and happiness in the workplace you must show trust in your staff. One thing that is important is to allow employees to operate in a similar way to what they do at home. If an employee is comfortable it will increase productivity and happiness in the workplace. Suncorp Bank has announced that they will allow their staff to use their own computers at the office if they want to. I know if I was able to use my Mac at the office I would be much more comfortable because it’s what I am used to. Rather, I use a Mac at home and then come to work and have to use a Windows machine. Let’s face it, staff are accessing their social networking sites via their phones or tablets anyway, so maybe it’s time for companies to endorse this form of communication and give people the benefit of the doubt. Then you can monitor the usage statistics and productivity and make appropriate decisions. We live in a world now where open discussion leads to innovation, so open up this dialogue in the workplace. Develop an MSN style system within your organisation, build message boards, allow social media site access and entrust your staff and you will soon see both productivity and innovation as well as your brand boom.

I don't doubt that there will be people who will get slack but there will also be many who will flourish because they feel more connected to both those in the workplace and their real lives. This is only one of many issues I see in todays workplaces. I don't base my views just on my feelings but on much research and looking at that hard to find common sense approach. Look at everything in a workplace. That includes how people communicate to the whole open plan mess. You will find a new, creative, productive and booming business.