Social Media vs. The Cigarette Break

Companies continue to block social media sites at work and this is still baffling to me.  Anyone can access social media sites and content from anywhere thanks to Smartphone’s and the ever increasing mobile technology.

The question this raises is whether companies are worried about employees using corporate property to access social media or if it is a “time drain” question.  If the answer is corporate property, this is completely understandable yet a grey subject.  Why.  More and more employees use social media to ask, answer and share work related information quickly.  Social media is (for some) a work related tool.  If the answer is that social media is a “time drain”, then this raises another set of questions.

For year, employees have been granted the right to have cigarette breaks throughout the day.  We have all seen these individuals, typically outside of an office building in or around a designated area enjoying their vice.  Sometimes these people are alone, on their mobile phone or conversing with others.

How is social media any different?  These tools allow individuals to have a break during the day to converse and share with others.   The difference is that social media tools allow employees to remain at their desks.

There is always a question of appropriate usage, time wasting, sharing confidential information, and so much more.  But hasn’t that issue been here for years already with the cigarette break?  Employees congregate in one area and share information, sometimes information they shouldn’t talk about.

I acknowledge that social media is on a much, much, much larger scale and may spread 1000 times faster than what I am describing.  The issue truly is faith in your employees.  Faith that they will make the right decisions and faith that they understand the ramifications of what they do.

Social media education is extremely important for any organization, large or small.  There will always be a portion of any workforce that will push the limits and even break rules.  This has been and will continue to occur in 99.9% of organizations.  If we educate our employees as to the risks of what is shared online, this will ultimately lead to a more astute work culture and potentially more productive.