Should social media be restricted during working hours?

Just days after my previous blogpost – Are Malaysian Bosses Embracing Social Media, I read an article from The Star about “Net Surfing ‘Freedom’ Too Costly“.

In short, the article states that:

  1. Employees on social networks are causing lost of productivity & money.
  2. Cuepacs advised civil servants against accessing social sites because they believe it’s distracting.
  3. Malaysian Employers Federation says BAN SOCIAL MEDIA!!!
  4. 54% of the companies in the US has already banned it.
  5. However, not all local businesses are against the use of social networking sites.

I personally think that this is a typical case of one man’s meat, the other man’s poison. How can you come to a conclusion that social media is causing lack of productivity when tons of creative ideas are mostly shared via social media?

With more & more people worldwide embracing it, we’ll be at the losing end if we choose to shut it down instead of developing with it.

A post by Marshall Kirkpatrick says it well – a study done by Australian scientist proves that using social media provides a mental break for employees, thus increasing productivity by a whopping 9%.

“The activity helps keep the mind fresh and helps put you in a better place when you come back to working on topic”, the scientists said.

And this 9% is merely the minimal increase as some users do productively use social media to share experiences that are work-related.

So it’s important to first study the motivation one has to use social media, before accusing that all pots are black. Though it’s obvious a lot of them are interested to keep in touch with friends, but there are those who would use social media for professional purposes too.

For example, an employee might know off a job offer available in his company and post the message to his friends, would most likely be in the same industry. They could respond to him by recommending those who might be interested. So say there’s 50 employees in Company A and they have an average of 300 friends, the message would be exposed to 15,000 people! This is better than paid advertising cause it’s FREE and you’re more likely to end up with qualified leads. And mind you, I’m not making this stuff up. Read The Edge’s article, Fighting the Talent Crunch with Social Media on how more & more companies are turning into social media for hiring purposes.

Other instances of how social media can improve productivity, is with the presence of tweets such as KL Traffic, we know which roads to avoid if we’re heading out for a meeting.

And if we have our clients/bosses on our Facebook list, we can slowly learn about their interest and buy a suitable gift for any special occasions. Okaay, maybe this is more off kissing the clients’ ass but the logic here is that if it helps you get a good pat on the back – why the hell not?

So social media isn’t all bad – or maybe I’m just too hooked up to it.


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