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Is your Social Network an Asset or Liability ?

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We have been connecting with our friends, family and professionals on a multiple social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Orkut etc. It has been fun to be in touch with our near and dears. It gives an immense joy to grow our network and feel good about it. Moreover, We’ve enjoyed things like commenting on a friend’s drunk pictures, criticizing people on blogs, updating that you’re at Gym on Foursquare etc.

social-media

Why people Network Online?

Lets understand the science behind the whole thing. ‘Connecting’ with people and things is a basic human need. When you ‘friend’ someone on Facebook, You are actually making a new connection or ‘digitizing’ an existing relationship. It becomes a lot more easier to keep track on information when it is digitized.

Moreover, when you comment on your friend’s status or reply a message – You are actually ‘deepening’ your relationship. The way software has revolutionized the businesses in the first place…Software is now revolutionizing our personal and professional lives. This helps us conclude that people can fulfill that needs and helps get in touch with people we need – It probably is an asset for the people.

Impact of Social Networks on Businesses

We are on a business blog right now. Lets look at it from a business standpoint for a while. Although it feels good to keep in touch with people and grow our networks..How much business sense would it make? It has been a crazy ride. People have been *wasting* a lot of time, energy and bandwidth for social networking.

This has brought serious criticism from businesses around the globe. There have been survey reports on 12.5% productivity loss at work due to use of social networks. Taking all this information into account…We may consider that – Social Networks can be a Liability for a business!

Is Blocking Social Networks at Work ‘the’ Solution?

Around 50% companies at USA had blocked social networks in the last few years (96% when it comes to Indian IT companies). This might sound like a legitimate decision as ‘productivity’ is the priority of any business. At the same time, If your company is blocking Social Network – It is probably blocking your ‘Basic Need’ to connect. You have all your friends on your Cell-phone – What if your company blocks it all? Will you like it? NOT AT ALL…right?

I would like to take a stand here. There are some serious cons of blocking ‘Social Networks’ at work as mentioned below.

  • Loss of Moral: The employees working a firm which allows social networks will feel much better at workplace than the firm which blocks. This is because the firm is blocking the ‘basic need’ of being connected with people.
  • Lack of Trust: The company blocking the ‘Social Networks’ essentially is not trusting their employees. They believe that their employees are not going to work, If Social Networks are allowed at work. This results into distrust by employees and hence a possible lack of productivity.
  • High Attrition: The above to factors may result into serious attrition rates. This is because your competitor is proving social network access as an extra ‘incentive’ to the employees. Your competitor will have a higher possibility of attracting Top Talent.

Free Tips for Businesses

If you are too concerned with social networks killing your productivity – Here are some Free Tips for Businesses on Social Networks Access at Work.

  • Companies don’t block their employee’s cell-phone but people do block it themselves in the meetings. So, There can be timings when Social Network be blocked at Work.
  • We recommend to allow it in the morning one-hour before the official work begins..This helps employees to check their status/messages etc..and also helps companies get the employees on time easily ;)
  • Allowed during Lunch time and say in the evening after 4:00 pm. This provides employees ‘enough’ of freedom while ensuring the ‘productivity’ for the Business.

Feel free to let us know what you think – Is Social Network an ‘asset’ for ‘liability’ for you. Looking forward to your comments!

  1. Sashko says

    “Galaxy” is a new-age mobile social network which allows you to live a full virtual life in your mobile phone! Chatting with friends, sending private messages, meeting new people and playing online games are just a few of the benefits which you will have with Galaxy.
    You can choose any look for your character instead of boring standard profile pictures. There are a variety of planets where you can discuss common interests. You can even create your own planet with your own set of rules and norms. Some more information about it you may find there: http://in-galaxy.com/?p=9.

  2. Deb says

    Hello Everyone!
    I just want to let you know that my experience as an employee of a very ‘digital’ company, I feel very ‘disconnected’ from people, but that is not because of blockage of social networks. I ‘could’ access FB from work, but I choose not to, because they take screen shots and traces of everything I do on the computer…including keystrokes! I don’t need my manager reading my personal information. To that end I have stopped using company email for the occasional note to a loved one. Also, I am not allowed to physically talk to people at work. We are expected to email and use IM so that all communication is documented (with coworkers), and even that my manager discourages as it ‘wastes the the other person’s time’ when I ask questions. I am also not allowed to use my cell phone at my desk during work hours to talk. I do text occasionally, but I have to turn the ringer off and turn the keypad sounds off. THIS is what the average IT job in America is like nowadays. Nobody I know opts to use any social network at work via pc…they use their cell phone. However if they do not use privacy options on their social network, their bosses can check the times they are posting. If they are posting during times that they should be working, that can be grounds for dismissal. So, as I said, much social networking outside of work hours is the only safe means of using the technology without risk of losing ones job.
    Hope this was enlightening.

  3. vijaianand says

    Decent discussion.

    Comparing the cell phone with social networking doesn’t fly all that well. It is not a good comparison. Cell phone is your asset and you do whatever you want with it but using company desktop and doing social networking is different. Obviously it affects the productivity.

    At the same time, company has to think in perspective of employee nature. Everyone is different and one person can finish the work in 1hour whereas the other person takes 4 hours. While the person who completed the work still have 3 more hours in his hands to kill from the allocated number of hours. What to do at the time? Just sit and stare the monitor. THats waste of time.

    On the same line, company can open the internet to everybody and productivity goes down for sure if everyone jumps on to social networking site. There has to be a balance. I am not really should windows of free networking time would work because not everybody can make use of it. I don’t know the sure answer to solve this puzzle but it is surely a big question in many IT guys and businesses mind these days..

    Thanks

  4. kellybriefworld says

    As an IT consultant I am fully aware that IT management is struggling with whether social media is productive or obstructive for companies and their employees. Software is being developed and policy and restrictions are being decided everyday by IT managers. The security of company networks are at stake but the potential for innovation using social media is a large enough carrot for the discussion of how to properly utilize the medium continues. Palo Alto networks came up with a whitepaper, http://bit.ly/d2NZRp, which will explore the issues surrounding social media in the workplace. It is important to not only understand the immediate benefits of doing business how one lives, but the threat it presents to a company’s greater ROI and productivity when it comes to the server’s safety and security.

  5. Rajan Chandi says

    Thanks for your comments guys!

    I agree that Employees should not be *wasting* business resources for personal purpose and Social Network usage does result into productivity losses.

    The whole idea is that – Time is changing and things are changing really fast…We’ve to embrace the change at some point. There are also better uses of Social Networks. e.g. An employee may be able to connect and learn stuff with his ex-colleague to solve a problem Or Join a business group on Linked In or Facebook to read and post something of value to herself and also value to the over all business.

  6. Altaf Rahman says

    I was in favor of blocking the socializing during office work. My logic is people have enough means to “be in contact” like mobiles as correctly mentioned. Why do they need to be chatting on social networks while working in office? Do you do your personal chores while working in office? Same way socializing can be set aside for personal times (after office hours)
    I am not a old timer but please see the logic. Socializing during office hours is not a life and death situation. Imagine, suppose some friend met with an accident. The situation calls for emergency on mobiles / social networks. Its reasonable. But take another case. You cant come to office, stop urgent work and discuss the release of Raavan while ur employer expects you to finish certain reports in few min.
    Anyway these are my 2 cents.

    By the way I remembered a joke on which chores allowed during office hours.

    The Manager of an office was informed that the sales engineer went for a hair cut during office hours. The Manager summoned the Engineer and enquired about the truth. The Engineer admitted to going to Saloon to get a Hair cut. He argued that he can use office time for Hair cut as the hair is growing during Office hours also. The Manager got annoyed but controlled his anger and asked the Engineer sarcastically ‘but your Hair also grows after working hours too? Then how can you use office hours for hair cut?’

    The smart engineer replied “I realise that. Thats the reason I left the hair which grwo during night time and only cut the hair which grow during office hours”
    Cheers.

  7. Viral says

    Hello Rajan,

    Over-all, a nice point of discussion about how social network has brought ditization of relationship.

    Specifically, coming to the time to be kept open for accessing such social sites during office hours, as you pointed it out, it can be kept open for 1 hour during morning, afternoon and evening. Probably, it can still be further limiteded to only 2 sessions – during luncheon session and one evening break.

    However, during morning session, if company willing, social sites can be still kept open for a very limited time, for say, just 15-20 minutes, so that people can indulge in ‘Replying’ to some important discussions, if any.

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