Social media has become a huge part of everyday life. With a multitude of platforms to pick from and smartphones providing incredible accessibility, the appetite to use social media at every opportunity can be addictive.
As a result, it is becoming increasingly common for people to access it at work and, even though it is now widely used for professional purposes, this is certainly not always the case.
Our recent study revealed that over three-quarters (77%) of employees across a variety of popular occupations spend at least an hour a day on social media at work.
If you do use it for personal reasons at work, it is important to use the correct etiquette. You need to be able to judge what is appropriate in terms of how much you use it, how you interact with colleagues and what content you engage with.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide to using social media whilst at work.
Pick the right time to browse
Casual social media use in the majority of workplaces is completely acceptable if you tailor it to the appropriate times. There is ample opportunity to browse the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in your breaks or at lunch time, with most employers not batting an eyelid at this. However, your boss may not look so kindly on excessive use at your desk throughout the day, so it is best to be mindful of the most appropriate times to do so.
Watch how frequently you use it
It seems like there is always something exciting and engaging to see on social media, but you should be mindful of how frequently you end up using it in the office. As well as making sure you access your various channels at appropriate times of the day, you should also be conscious of how often you do so.
If you work in an industry where social media is rarely used in a professional capacity then picking up your phone to use Facebook every five minutes is not a good look. Reducing this can minimise distractions and increase your productivity.
Be careful with what you post
Social media gives people a platform to express themselves in different ways, but it is vital to be conscious of how certain content can be perceived. With everything you post or engage with on social media being so visible to people, steering clear of content that may offend friends, family and colleagues or cause controversy is important.
Furthermore, with a growing number of recruiters and employers using social media as a vetting tool for potential candidates, inappropriate content can harm your career opportunities.
Over four in five (82%) of British employers admit to including this sort of investigation in their vetting process for new employees and so keeping your social media free of offensive material can benefit you not only in the search for a job, but also your working relationships within the workplace.
Wait to connect with new colleagues
Starting a new job always involves a mixture of excitement and nerves. One of the easiest ways to interact and get to know your new colleagues outside of office hours is through the various avenues of social media.
However, adding new colleagues on social media is rarely something that happens instantly and so gauging when is the best time to do so can ease your transition into a new working environment. Our recent data shows that on average co-workers are usually comfortable making that step around the one or two-month mark across the majority of social platforms.
With the issue of social media use at work being so divisive, Nancy Elgadi, Digital Director of Right Angles, gave her thoughts on the subject.
“Social media has well and truly become a part of life, not only for personal use but also as part of professional working life. Whether you use it for work as part of your job, or simply browse it during your lunch hour, it is unlikely that you won’t come into contact with it throughout the day.
“However, that’s not to say that you should be on Twitter or Instagram every waking moment. Whilst social media may have an addictive element, it’s crucial for working professionals to be aware of when it is and isn’t acceptable to be using it, i.e. on your break is fine, in the middle of a client meeting, perhaps not.
“Whilst social media is meant to be for personal use, it has become more and more common for employers and potential employers to review social media use of their staff and candidates. Injecting humour on your social media profiles is fine, sharing that risque or slightly un-pc tweet may not be.
“And whilst it may be difficult to know where both employers and social media users should draw the line for acceptable social media content, it is ultimately always going to be a judgement call based on your company culture.”
Do you think using social media at work is positive or a distraction? Tweet us @Ebuyer
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