It’s kind of funny that the same arguments, concerns, and battles about social media are still happening in the workplace. I forget that not everyone has adapted, adopted, and generally accepted that the internet, at the least, and social media tools of all kinds, are part of our daily work and personal lives. I forget that there are still some bosses, managers, and business owners who are afraid of social media or, really, anything internet-based. (I taught a class recently and this was brought up, rather emphatically, by a student.) It’s fear of the unknown, of course. The people with the biggest concerns are not users, themselves. There’s a lack of understanding of how the tools work, and an assumption that quickly follows, that IT MUST BE BAD.
If it’s important to you and your business that all of your employees stay off of social media at all times, but especially while at work, you’d better put that in a written policy that they sign, then enforce it consistently. Clarify that even using their own personal smartphones during work hours to access social media is a violation, if that’s how you feel about it. Be really up front with new employees and bring down the hammer on any current employees. Don’t complain about how hard it is to manage this or enforce it; we know that. But that’s the choice you’ve made: it’s more important to you to spend time making sure your people aren’t spending time in one specific way, than to establish what you DO want employees doing, in terms of communications.
I get that people abuse social media and, in general, the internet, but we’ve lost that battle across the board. You can’t effectively enforce all internet activity of people who work and in general, trying is not going to be worth the energy output.
But again, be clear, and when people keep doing what you don’t want them to do, they might just want a different job for an employer who doesn’t mind if they tweet. Help them be free to get that job.