Others say letting employees use personal accounts at work is a recipe for trouble. Social-media sites can collect extensive insights about users through data mining and psychometric profiling, they say, and that is incompatible with the privacy and corporate-confidentiality obligations many firms have.
Social media can be a source of malware, and if employees are using computers provided to them by their company, they pose a risk to equipment every time they log into Facebook. It's easier for everyone if employees simply stay off social media while at work.
But some social media use at work can keep employees engaged. According to Monster, a hiring site dedicated to helping match the right employees with the right jobs, social media can increase employees' output:
A study conducted at the University of Melbourne found that employees with access to social networks were actually more productive than employees in companies that block access. According to Dr. Brent Coker, employees who can reward themselves between the completion of one task and the start of another with a visit to their Facebook or MySpace page are more invigorated and get more done.
Social media did not introduce the concept of wasting time at work. If Facebook, YouTube or Instagram help fuel employees throughout the day, then social media can act as a healthy distraction.
According to the Harvard Business Review, it isn't productivity that employers should worry about, it's employee retention. HBR's Lorenzo Bizzi conducted a study on the topic:
In the second part of the study I found that employees using social media were more likely to leave an organization. This may be because they were more likely to engage with potential new employers than their less social peers. In my study, 76% of employees using social media for work took an interest in other organizations they found on social media, compared to 60% of employees using social media only for leisure.
The reality is that social media enables employees to have conversations with people outside of their organization throughout the workday. This is bound to have some consequences for employees interested in different working arrangements.
Beyond acting as a mental break, social media can also strengthen connections between coworkers, act as an easy information source, and foster networking across companies. According to the Olsen Group:
Social media is an easy way to encourage communication between employees and help to share ideas and increase engagement both while at work and at home.
Imagine having a pressing question that you need a diverse set of opinions on. What better place to go than Reddit? Or, if you need to look up how to do something, why not check out YouTube? The pros of social media at work far outweigh the cons.