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We hear this statement a lot from business executives: "Help! My employees are on social networks all day long, Facebooking and Twittering, and it's killing productivity!"
Social technology is just another scapegoat for diminished workplace productivity - another scapegoat in a long line of scapegoats, since the dawn of the 9-to-5 workday.
Let's review some of the others:
- Cigarette breaks.
- The water cooler.
- Restroom breaks.
- The three-martini lunch.
- Personal phone calls.
- Instant messaging.
The list goes on and one. Proof that the situation many modern workplaces face right now is a human resources issue
, NOT a "social networks are destroying the world" issue.
Here's the deal: As the leader of your company, it's up to you to define expectations for employees. If you're not going to be Big Brother and lock down all the internet ports, that's great, but you need to establish rules as certain employees will inevitably abuse these freedoms.
Internet usage rules aren't a bad thing. In the past, you've been upfront with employees that it's not OK to browse pornographic Web sites, right? Again, all you need to do here is establish expectations that, yes, employees can check Facebook from time to time but they are expected to stay on task and complete the work assigned to them in a timely fashion. You also need to spell out the consequences if they don't follow these simple rules.
What are your thoughts? Has your company or organization developed a social technology usage policy? Do you feel leaving social networks 100 percent open hinders employee productivity? Please leave a comment below, I'm excited to hear your feedback.