By partnersinhr, Jul 6 2015 05:59PM
We can all hold our hands up and admit to it: at some point in our careers, we’ve logged onto a social media channel to see what our Facebook “friends” (come on, do you really have 734 friends?) or people we’re following (no, Taylor Swift isn’t your real-life friend) are up to whilst at work. If your hand isn’t waving in the air right now, someone’s telling porkies.
When that social channel is LinkedIn, it’s different. Networking of that kind could actually result in strengthening business relationships. But when this “networking” involves scrolling aimlessly down your news feed, watching videos of dogs chasing their tails or ‘liking’ the fact that your forever-single mate is now officially ‘in a relationship’, we’ve got a problem.
As a business owner or manager, you can spot it a mile off: you think your employee is busy frantically typing away, but as you approach their desk, the blue and white-coloured page suddenly disappears and another tab is opened at the speed of light.
The use of these social platforms in your employee’s personal time is just fine; they can spend their whole lunch hour on such sites, if they so wish. But when they’re creating a Pinterest board for their seven-year-old daughter’s birthday party or visiting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on your clock, they are wasting their time – which, in turn, wastes your money.
Is it really such a big problem? Well, according to a survey by Salary.com last year – yes, it is. Almost nine in ten (89%) employees admitted to wasting time at work each day (up 20% from 2013), and a huge proportion of this time is spent on social media.
Even if your employees spent just 15 minutes updating their status or tweeting whilst at work each day, this clocks in at nearly 4,000 hours per year – that’s 65 hours of pay completely down the drain. When you multiply that figure by the number of people you employ… well, it’s enough to make your blood boil. It’s a minefield for both employers and HR departments alike.
And which employees are the most likely culprits? According to a survey by the online store Watch Shop, people aged between 25 and 34 waste more time at work than any other age group. Most Millennials have only ever known access to the Internet for communication and 53% of them, a study by Forbes has revealed, would “give up their sense of smell rather than lose a device connection.” What’s more, research has revealed that 55% of 18-24-year-olds view social networking as an “entitlement” – so, in other words, they think it’s a basic human right!
So, from an HR perspective, what are the solutions? How long is too long with regards to time spent on social media? How can it be controlled?
The only common-sense solution is to set up a coherent social media policy to lay down the law when it comes to employee guidelines. This will ensure that there are no grey areas and that you are the one in control. In a world of rapid technological advances, this policy needs to be regularly revisited in order to reflect the way people interact and work using social media.
If you are considering implementing a tailor-made, bespoke social media policy, please get in touch today.