Social media usage in Canada and throughout the world is on the rise; it is quickly becoming a ubiquitous medium for social interaction. There have been reports that up to 75% of employees in North America utilize social media while at work. With such prolific usage, it is counterproductive for employers to simply ban and block outright all at-work social media usage.
As is often the case with prohibition, these banning strategies will likely just increase the drive of employees to find workarounds to reach their favourite sites. Unlike the Web 1.0 world, where web sites provided distractions in the form of information and entertainment, social media is providing unprecedented communication and data storage capabilities that are being integrated into the daily lives of many people. For these users, removing access to social media for a prolonged period of time may be inconceivable to them.
At the same time, it would be unwise for employers to simply open the floodgates of unrestricted social media access at work. The same data collection functions associated with social media that provide so much convenience for its users are also a source of privacy traps and leakages of proprietary information for companies and individual employees alike. In addition, reputations of companies can easily be compromised in the world of social media. There have been many instances of late where employees have abused official company social network accounts.
The first step to managing social media at the workplace should be in establishing appropriate rules and regulations. However, rule and regulations on their own do not make good preventative strategies. It is very easy for employees to unwittingly or mistakenly misuse social media. A careful selection of software offerings and software configurations can help provide effective safeguards from wrongful social media usage at work. These can range from simple changes like stricter browser configurations to utilizing access-control software such as BrowseControl or BrowseReporter.
A company-wise social media strategy cannot simply end with a list of do’s and do not’s. It should always include appropriate measures in the software that employees utilize every day.