Social media at work

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by Heather Lutze

As many companies have found, having a business presence in social media communities – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – can have a positive impact on the bottom line. Being able to connect with customers and prospects to build loyalty and community goes a long way, and social media is changing the way customer relations take place.

One of the main questions to ask when implementing a company social media strategy is, “Do we open this up to the entire company?”# Some argue that allowing employees to access social media sites during the day will result in productivity drain. Others encourage businesses to put web site filters in place and completely ban social media use from the workplace.

But an interesting study recently found that when employees take time to visit websites of personal interest – such as social media sites” it provides a mental break and actually increases their ability to concentrate. Researchers documented a nine percent increase in productivity among their subjects. As they explained, “The activity helps keep the mind fresh and helps put you in a better place when you come back to working on topic.”#

Most managers realize that employees don”t work 100 percent of the time while at work. They do lots of other things such as get a snack, go to restroom, talk to co-workers, surf the web, etc. So they”re already giving themselves some distractions. The question is, do you want to offer employees a suitable distraction or let them choose their own distractions? Clearly, offering an acceptable distraction is the way to go, especially if doing so ultimately helps the company”s bottom line.

With that said, management can”t simply allow employees to post to the company”s social media sites arbitrarily. Rules of engagement must be established.

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