This creates a conundrum for the small business owner. These tools can be major time and productivity sinks, but they can also be incredible tools for networking, advertising, and research. So should young employees be allowed to use social networks while on the job? The answer really depends on the employee, the company’s focus, and the needs of the business.
Most young employees are used to having access to social networks all day long, and taking that away can cause ill will and drive off young talent. But this should not be a factor in deciding whether or not to block social media websites. Companies pay employees to perform tasks vital to the success of the business. It is tough to justify that surfing Facebook is a productive use of time.
However, there are many business uses for social media websites, and good employees can effectively manage their time on them. Be sympathetic to young employees, but make sure they understand the expectations that come with the paycheck.
The Company’s Focus
If the company is a brick-and-mortar furniture store, there’s almost no relationship between social media and a company’s success. However, if the company is a technology company, having unfettered access to breaking news, online chatter, and a network of friends needs to be available. Wal-Mart employees don’t need access to YouTube; News Corp employees do.
The Needs of the Business
Does the company need employees to be on the pulse of the latest trends? Does the company engage in online marketing? Is the company big on networking? Asking these questions can prevent a lot of headaches. If a company blocks Twitter, it should be prepared to be slower than the competition in tracking breaking industry news.
Think about all of the consequences on the bottom line when deciding whether or not to block social media websites. Employees are not “entitled” access to any specific website. However, they are entitled to all of the tools needed to execute their job to the best of their ability. Sometimes that means sacrificing a little productivity to be better connected.