The Pros and Cons to Blocking Social Media in the Workplace
If everyone is blocking social media in the workplace, does that mean it’s a good idea It certainly comes from good intentions as managers and business owners look for ways to increase productivity amongst employees, but is it working Of course, you as an employer want your employees to work when they are on the clock, especially if they get paid by the hours. However with millennials stepping into managerial positions and social media becoming an increasingly important part of the professional sphere, blocking social media in the work place may not be the productivity gold mine employers want. In fact, it may be the direct opposite.
Fact: Blocking Won’t Work
First, answer this question. When your school blocked your favorite sites (social media or otherwise) from the school computers, did you have a proxy or other backdoor in your back pocket Next, when the school blocked your favorite proxy or backdoor, did you have one or multiple backups Even if you didn’t answer yes to this question, most of your management staff and employees probably will.
In fact, with smart phones and data networks, employees have an extremely easy way to get around any blocking software you implement. Furthermore, your employees may spend more time trying to access their social media platforms than they spend actually re-blogging, liking, updating and checking messages. Blocking social media in the workplace is a great theoretical concept, but if your aim is to keep your employees off social media entirely, it won’t work.
Productivity: Correlation or Causation
Any employer wants to find ways to maintain an improve productivity and blocking social media in the workplace certainly seems like a great way to do just that. While your most unproductive employees may spend their hours on social media, that doesn’t mean the sites are the actual issue. In fact, some research indicates employees allowed free access to social media are more productive.
Why First, they don’t spend time trying to find a way around you firewall. Second, employees will frequently reward themselves for completing tasks with a quick social media check in. A quick social media break along with a reward can significantly improve your workers’ morale and give them enough of a mental break to stay energized for the remainder of the workday.
The Actual Problem: Management or Technology
If productivity might actually be improved with a quick venture into the social media sphere, does blocking social media in the workplace get to the heart of the productivity issue This solution suggests the problem is a technological one, implying without the distractions of technology. However, the existence absent minded and/or unfocused employees preceded the Internet and modern-day technologies.
If the problem isn’t technological, perhaps the productivity issue indicates a need for change in managing style. This may result in manager’s looking for more motivated talent or if the issue is office wide, actions should be taken to improve morale and focus. While eliminating social media from the work place seems seemed like a logical step, it doesn’t seem to have the result employers were hoping for, so it may be time for new solution.
Cost: Financial and Managerial
There are two types of costs related to blocking social media in the workplace: financial and managerial. Initially, you’ll have to find software that will work with your office size and technology. Of course, the software must be installed, which may impact your daily operations momentarily. Next, you’ll need to remain in contact with your third party provider to ensure you have access to help should the system malfunction. Each of these steps will come with either a one time bill or ongoing subscription cost.
Afterwards, you management team will now have to take responsibilities for monitoring your employees Internet usage and enforcing the ban. Inevitably, they’ll have to take attention away from another important responsibility to successfully implement and monitor Internet usage in your office.
If you’re employees want to get all of their tasks done on time, they certainly can’t spend their entire day on social media platforms. However, you may negatively impact your overall company’s productivity if you don’t allow your employs a quick social media check in during breaks or between large tasks. Every enterprise is different, but high productivity typically follows excellent management and work environments. If you’re looking to improve your productivity, look first at the actual source of the problem and try to find a solution that addresses the core of the situation. Remember, happy employees are happy to work for you.