One of my summer television addictions is NY Med, which follows surgeons around some of the New York metro area’s busiest hospitals. One this summer’s episodes focused on a man who had been hit by a subway train. An ER nurse Instagrammed a photo of the empty trauma room, along with the caption “#Man vs 6 train”. Later that day, the hospital fired her. According to ABC News, she was fired for being “insensitive,” not for posting any protected patient information or for violating any hospital policy.
I thought of this story as, over the weekend, I read an article on The Next Web entitled, Productivity vs. Distraction: Should you block social media at work? The answer to this question is a resounding “no.” Here’s why, in my opinion.
Like it or not, we live in a social world. People are living their lives on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Take Facebook. It has1.28 billion users, 59% of whom visit the site every day. 68% of all time spent on Facebook is done via its mobile app. Twitter is even higher, at 86%. These stats show that it you are trying to ban employee social media access at work, you are fighting a battle you cannot win. If an employee wants to check Facebook at work, or post a Tweet, or show off that fancy filtered sunset on Instagram, they will simply take their iPhone out of their pocket and post away.
So what is a company to do? Embrace the fact that employeeswill access their social media accounts from work. So, how do you balance on-the-job productivity against the social media’s distractions? TNW offers four great tips:
Facebook might not be Facebook in five years. But, rest assured, something else will take its place. Social media is not going anywhere. Employers need to embrace this reality, or face a workforce they do not understand and cannot hope to control.
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