By Jeri T Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International 6-16-2011
Takeaways: Social networking mini-breaks help relieve boredom, increase productivity, and encourage team building.
According to a 2010 study by Brent Coker, “Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing,” workers who social surf up to 20% of their total workweek actually increase their productivity 12%. These mini-breaks from the mental challenges of work relieve the brain of tedium and help to clear the mind.
The above study was cited in the June 2011 Costco Connection magazine. According to the study. researchers found that participating in social networks online actually helps build additional knowledge to help further company growth.
The article also quoted a Costco member as saying, “Use of social media is essential to team building, well-being and a sense of collective purpose, especially in smaller companies where staff may be isolated at different sites.”
Social networks are also a quick way to get answers at work. I recall a technical computer problem I had that I spent hours trying to resolve, including support calls to Microsoft, with no success. I posed a question on LinkedIn and within minutes, received the right answers from several high level technical experts which helped me resolve my issue.
Allowing staff to openly use social media can lead to leaks of confidential information, poor brand image, and even customer service concerns. The article cites the example of Pro footballer Antonio Cromartie who was fined $2,500 for “breaching NFL rules for tweeting that the poor food served to players on Virgin Atlantic was linked to poor performance.”
According to the article, Deloitte’s 2009 Ethics & Workplace survey found that 74% of employed Americans say damaging a brand’s reputation like this is easy. Consequently, it’s important to have a social networking policy and ensure that all staff understand the parameters of that policy. Check with your Legal Department before implementing it, though, since monitoring employee social networking activities raises legal questions about employee privacy vs. company rights.