I sometimes feel like one of the lucky ones – working in a social agency and having to work on Facebook, Twitter and other social tools means I get access to all the networks. But lots of office workers seem to have Facebook bans and it’s no wonder that alternative solutions have popped up to help people get their much-needed hits of social networking, for example, Diesel’s app that made Facebook look like an Excel worksheet (unfortunately, the app doesn’t seem to be working now). Banning social sites at work will only drive employees to use their smartphones or tablets instead (which take even more time). Allowing social media at work does some great benefits:
It allows real-time collaboration
Social networking sites are often pooh-poohed for being distracting for employees, and unrelated to work. That’s because the consumer/public-driven side of social networking is the side we’ve become most aware of.
Not only is social media revolutionary for communicating to the public, but it can serve as a platform for employees to facilitate real-time collaboration, information sharing, and to foster a strong internal culture. For example, it’s possible for companies to set up private, employee-only Facebook groups to create a communal, real-time message board that can be used both locally or globally. And microblogging services such as Twitter and Yammer can help groups communicate better. Yammer, for example, allows users to post Facebook-like status messages such as ‘I’ll be going on one week’s vacation tomorrow’. Does your current e-mail software do that?
It makes employees happy
An infographic from Socialcast shows that happy and engaged employees are far better and more efficient workers, and more effective agents of innovation and success.
The highlight of the study features research conducted by James Fowler at UC San Diego, which states that social media (from social networks to collaborative platforms) not only enhances productivity in the workplace, but its contagious nature increases overall contentment, too.
It helps attract talent
Not only will the freedom to use social technologies empower and motivate employees and strengthen culture, but it also opens up the company to other indirect benefits, such as attracting talent through a great public reputation.
Opening up to social enhances recruitment as happy employees talk up their company culture and talk more about their company on social networks. McKinsey estimates that two-thirds of the economy is now influenced by personal recommendations – and what better way than social (so-called word of mouth on steroids) to help spread that?
Social media is pervading every part of our lives and it makes sense to apply its uses in the work environment to increase efficiency, empower employees and build a great public rep.