Are you cool with your employees cruising Facebook whilst on the job? Well, you’re in the minority.
New figures from consumer research company Canstar Blue suggest that one in three small business owners have banned the usage of social media sites within working hours.
A survey of 855 small businesses with 19 staff or less also shows that one in five employers believe their staff are too liberal in their general internet usage.
The negative attitudes of employers towards the productivity draining influence of social media platforms should not come as a surprise. The survey finds that one in three young people spend more than three hours every day at work surfing cyber space instead of getting on with the job. One in five employees spend more than four hours online — half the working day.
The survey found that young managers were most tuned in to the online habits of staff members and more inclined to monitor their computer activity. They were also more inclined to take a zero tolerance approach to social media usage. For example, while 44 per cent of Gen Y managers ban the use of social media at work only 32 per cent of baby boomers adopt a similar approach.
South Australia is the place to go for true social media addicts, with the survey suggesting only 25 per cent of small businesses in the state currently ban the practice. Queensland bosses appear to be the harshest, with 36 per cent of small businesses in the sunshine state banning social media usage.
Principal of Australian Workplace lawyers, Rob Stevenson said that most small employers had still not properly addressed the issue of social media use in the workplace. He urged employers to put in place appropriate social media policies in place.
“It often takes a particular trigger or event for misuse to come to the employer’s attention. The issue that most commonly results in termination of employment is the posting of derogatory comments about the employer on social media,” he said.
Mr Stevenson said that small businesses who did not take up inappropriate internet usage with employers early on in the process often ran into difficulties.
“This often results in it being more difficult to address the matter once the employer reaches boiling point and wants to take a more severe type of disciplinary action that is really not justified without a lead up process.
“Hence, some small employers feel – I think rightly – that it is simpler to have a blanket ban in place rather than having to enforce a subjective reasonableness test on a case by case basis.”
The survey also showed that as many as one in ten business experience issues with staff stealing office stationary and would be able to pay staff more if they were not constantly replacing missing equipment.