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Facebook: Entitlement or Empowerment?

I want to start a conversation. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the role of Facebook at work.  According to a new study, most employees consider using Facebook in the office not as a luxury or a business tool, but as a right.  Researchers found that nearly a third of employees are spending an hour or more a day on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets during work hours. “Intelligent Office,” a virtual office research company, surveyed over 1,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada. A quarter of the workers also reported they prefer not to work for a company that banned social media at work.

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So, if your young staff members are like their peers, they feel it is their right to use Facebook on your time. Because of this, many employers feel compelled to push back and curb the use of Facebook during office hours. It becomes a power play.

In July of 2009, a Nucleus Research study found that Facebook interaction in the workplace is cutting employee productivity. On the other hand, you can find loads of articles on-line on how Facebook can increase productivity and sales at work. To put it another way, young employees may see Facebook the way we Baby Boomers saw our Rolodex back when we first started our careers.  It’s their network. It’s how they make contact with people who might just be a future customer if treated right. The bottom line? Young employees feel entitled to Facebook. Yet, employers often don’t know how to empower them to use it because it’s new territory.

So, let’s talk about it. Tell me what you think. Should we allow Facebook and social media to be used during work time?  Why?

 

10 Comments

  1. Ashley O on July 16, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I can say from experience that Generation iY has become the go-to expert on Social Media. Social Media can be seen as a negative time eater, or a great way to make your company visible!

    As the Office Manager at a University Newspaper, I know our policy and the policies of those like us. Our paper allows social media while at work. We’ve noticed that if we don’t make it an issue, it won’t become one. The students and full time staff use the social media during work hours, and it is usually for (a) minimal personal use, and (b) to promote, market, and talk POSITIVELY about their work environment.

    Perhaps there’s a gem there…

    • Tim Elmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:25 am

      I think you are right Ashley. Generation iY has definitely become the go-to-expert on social media, primarily because they have the most experience with it. Our office has a very similar approach as yours, we don’t make using social media an issue at work, and therefore it’s used positively and enhances our work environment. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Kevin on July 16, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I don’t use Facebook on a regular basis but I do use Twitter on a regular basis. I think it is an important part of how we connect to alumni and current friends and family. I work for a college athletic department.

  3. charlene.fonseca on July 16, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I help high school students apply and register in our dual enrollment program. I work at a Christian liberal arts college, and although I try to refrain from using FB for personal purposes, I do use FB for connection with students and parents. Sometimes it feels like fun instead of work, but I feel like it’s a necessary connection even if I don’t get feedback on my pages. I share your page at times, too, as I try to anticipate homeschoolers’ needs through this venue.

  4. Paul Phua on July 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    In my area of work with students, I find facebook to be a useful tool to engage them. In this Semester, I created a FB group for my subject and added my students into the group. We got students to post some of their work on the wall. The person who got the most LIKES got to win a box of OREO cookies. It turned out to be fun as they got more creative in the process.

    I also used FB to broadcast job opportunities to former graduates who are still looking for a job. Technology can be both a great tool or an addictive toy, depending on how we use them. As you have mentioned before, with autonomy comes responsibility.

    • Tim Elmore on July 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Great ideas Paul! I really like that you’re using Facebook to facilitate positive growth and productivity. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Joe on July 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Working in Healthcare I see a lot of employees who are supposed to be focused on patients, spending precious minutes, hours on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. While journalism and retail sales positions might benefit from employees using social media, in healthcare the patients are paying for the time employees spend socializing. Too many mistakes can be made and tasks overlooked such as returning a call regarding a prescription or diagnostic test results can take place when healthcare workers are indulging in social media. Sadly, I have seen this behavior in all types of healthcare settings–ER, doctor’s office, radiology–by educated staff holding degrees and certifications that say the job they perform is vital in the process of your healthcare. As generation iY is encouraged by their parents and other mentors/leaders to “get a job in healthcare”, I believe it is important to help those adolescents understand that jobs in this field and others like it require a certain level of professionalism and focus.

  6. Judy M on July 20, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I don’t see the problem if it doesn’t interfere with their work. As a high school teacher, I try to use as much technology as I can in the classroom and I was surprised that I know more about most do it than they do and I’m a ’60s baby! If you give them some flex people often can be more productive because they use these sites to decompress or relax for a minute before doing the next difficult thing. Sure there will always be those who slack and overuse these sites causing trouble for everyone. But as they say, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

  7. M-E on July 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I think every person that does not see using Facebook or other such mediums should first own their own business and watch the loss of productive work hours while employee post information on their social media accounts. This is lost time that will NEVER be recaptured because their are laws that prohibit employers from making individuals work hours in excess of 40 without paying them overtime.

    Also, those studies that show its only an hour a day, it’s more than that. Some individuals need electrodes wired to their brain and Facebook because of the amount of time they spend on it. They sneak into the bathroom, take breaks to “get something from their car, etc.” and have their gadget with them to update a stat. It’s ridiculous. I am from the “old school” and in those days there was the “telephone problem (excessive use).” We have gone far beyond that. As far as teachers being able to connect with students using Facebook. Many school districts frown on that as inappropriate.

  8. ceceliajernegan on August 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I think when they invented the phone people could NOT use that at work either. It takes time before tools which are relevant take their place in the work place. Social media is a new form of communication. Time to realize it is NOT a FAD. It has changed the landscape of who we are as a global society. People that are mature know when to use it and when not too. I guess someone will write a book about FB etiquette in the workplace. Want to write it with me?? Have a good evening. I enjoy your articles. Cheers, Cecelia

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Facebook: Entitlement or Empowerment?