Social media: Affecting workplace harmony?

The use of social media may have become more prevalent in the workplace, but it’s still creating unease among employees. New research has found over half of Australians are nervous about mixing their personal and professional connections on social media.

According to the latest Kelly Global Workforce Index, 48 percent of employees admit social media use in the workplace has a negative effect on productivity. Despite this, 18 percent of workers aged 19-30 and a similar number of Generation X staff believe it is acceptable to use social media for personal use while at work

“For many workers, social media has become almost an entitlement. It’s something that is a fundamental part of their communications armoury, and they’re using it to make career decisions and to search for jobs,” Kelly Services managing director Karen Colfer said.

However, the Index results revealed an overwhelming anxiety about the intermingling of personal and professional worlds. 59 percent of respondents said that mixing personal and professional connections through social media can cause problems in the workplace.

“The reality is that the spread of social media in the workplace is occurring faster than any rules designed to manage it,” said Colfer.

“While many employees are quick to see the benefits, employers and managers are still grappling with a host of complex issues relating to privacy, monitoring and access to sensitive business information,” she explained.

This grey area was highlighted by the Index, with 21 percent of respondents saying it is acceptable to share opinions about work with friends and colleagues on social media.

Interestingly, the survey also revealed that employees with professional skill-sets feel it is more acceptable to use social media for personal use when at work, compared to those with non-qualified skill sets.

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