Humans are social creatures, there is no getting around that, and with ‘online socialising’ being at our finger tips all day long through our mobile phones, tablets and personal computers it can be hard to resist the allure of social media. But is social media in the workplace appropriate? And what should you do if your manager adds you on Facebook? This article aims to give you some helpful advice.
Social media policy
When you start a new job, it’s a good idea to ask if your company has a social media policy. If they do, this will clarify exactly what ‘appropriate use’ of social media at work is. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the social media policy because people can and do lose their jobs all because of a silly status they posted or for spending too much time checking their notifications at work! It’s also a good idea to check the policy regularly for updates as technology is ever changing so the policy should be too.
What you should find out
There are a number of issues surrounding social media in the workplace and there are several things you should consider to ensure you aren’t breaking any rules. We have highlighted some of the most important here:
When can it be used?
Social media is not usually banned from the workplace. In some cases, it can be actively encouraged. It can be a great source of communication, with instant message being the quick fire alternative to email. You may use platforms such as LinkedIn to make business connections for the sake of the company. You may also be asked to Like, Share and Comment on posts by your companies social media page. You definitely shouldn’t be scrolling through your news feed and chatting to your friends all day, but there may be some leeway when it comes to social media.
What would be deemed ‘inappropriate’?
It should be common sense not to post statuses slandering your company, boss or co-workers, but it does happen. Your company’s social media policy might restrict what you can and can’t say about the company on social media. Breaking these rules can be a fireable offence so it’s important to know what you can get away with. If your social media profile states your place of work, it might not be wise to post anything controversial as it may reflect badly on your company. Information disclosure can also be an issue as you employer will not be happy if you publicly reveal all of their business strategies and secrets!
Bullying and Harassment
Unfortunately, you may find yourself becoming a victim of cyberbullying and harassment at work. Your employer should have tied their bullying and harassment policy in with their social media policy so hopefully there will be a process for resolving this. Be sure to keep evidence of any harassment and report it to your manager immediately.
So, what do you do if your manager adds you on Facebook?
Frankly, the decision is yours. There is evidence to suggest that having your manager as a friend on social network can improve communication and relationships. However, you need to bear in mind that they will have access to your personal life and might see something you would rather they hadn’t seen! A professional manager will not take offence if you choose to decline their friend request, but it would be good to have a chat with them and discuss why you don’t want to connect to them on social media.