Social Media in the Workplace

Social media has become a way of life for many of us. The Pew Research Center says 70 percent of Americans use social media to stay connected and Facebook just announced today that it had over two billion users. In fact, you probably found this blog via the MBI Worldwide Facebook or Twitter pages. But are you reading this post while at work?

MBI Worldwide conducted some research on the subject of social media usage while on the clock. For some employees, being on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Snapchat is part of the job description. However, we wanted to pick the brains of people using social media for non-work related things. Both employees and managers/business owners answered a few simple questions for us.  We should note 73 people took part in this unscientific poll that was posted on Facebook recently.


  1. Do you use social media while on the clock for non-work related purposes? Seventy-one people responded to this question.


Yes – 94%

No –   6%


  1.  If you answered yes to question one, how often do you use social media on the clock? Sixty-seven people responded to this question.


Very little –              48%

An hour or two     – 22%

Always logged in – 30%


  1.  Has your social media use at work even impacted your productivity? Seventy people replied.


Yes – 43%

No  – 57%


Then we asked employers some questions.


  1. Do you have a problem with employees using social media while on the clock? There were 42 responses.


Yes – 48%

No  – 52%


  1.  How do you handle social media abuse by employees? Thirty-eight answers were given and more than one answer could be given for each choice.


Verbal warning –   84%

Written warning –  24%

Suspension –          8%

Termination –         18%


  1. What percentage of your employees use social media for non-work purposes? There were 40 responses here, and again participants gave more than one answer.


Less than 10 percent –  15%

10 to 25 percent –          2%

25 to 50 percent –         25%

More than 50 percent – 62%

Employees and employers seem pretty consistent in their answers. While more workers are using social media for non-work purposes, the punishment for these violations don’t appear to be too severe, but 18 percent of bosses have fired someone as a result.

This is just a reminder that managers need to come up with a clear and concise social media policy. It’s a new world we’re entering. Be consistent and don’t be afraid to allow some use of social media for non-work purposes, but monitor things to ensure productivity isn’t being killed. It’s a fine line and one that will only get more blurred as a younger workforce enters the market.

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