Managing your employees’ social media use

February 1, 2016

Is your staff addicted to social media? Some of them are indeed social media junkies, as polls show the average American spends a quarter of his work day on sites such as Facebook.1 That means a 25 percent decrease in productivity. That means that in an average workweek, you a paying a staffer to socialize online for over a full day of work!

Is your staff addicted to social media? Some of them are indeed social media junkies, as polls show the average American spends a quarter of his work day on sites such as Facebook.1 That means a 25 percent decrease in productivity. That means that in an average workweek, you a paying a staffer to socialize online for over a full day of work!

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However, we see that the most progressive optometric practices are thriving in this social media landscape. Those practices clearly have somebody paying attention to and utilizing social media. Therein lies a dilemma: How does an office allow for proper use of social media while preventing improper use?

The Internet police

Often, an office does not have a formal Internet policy, which means that the owner or manager is the one policing for improper use. In its simplest form, policing is simply watching out for personnel using social media for personal pleasure. However, this observational method is fraught with opportunities for abuse. So, what is the next level up on the Internet police program?

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A more focused approach to controlling Internet abuse would be to control devices and Internet use from said devices. With nearly two thirds of Americans armed with smartphones, they can be often found using them to access the Internet and their social media sites.2 One solution is to simply not allow an employee to use her smartphone while on the clock, perhaps even sequestering phones upon arrival and holding them safe until a break. Although against the law in the U.S., some offices have chosen to use cell phone signal jamming to prevent calls, texts, and Internet use.

Next: Useful programs

 

Useful programs

Monitoring computer use proves to be a bit more complicated. Just checking the browser history isn’t enough. Savvy users will just clear it or fire up browsers that don’t log history. One solution is to block access to these sites. As many practices do need to allow access to social media sites on specific occasions, there is a problem here as well. Luckily there are programs that will allow user definable time schedules for each content filter category. This means you can have a specific employee get what needs to be done on social media at a certain time, and then after that time window closes the site will resume restriction. Two popular programs can be found at www.netnanny.com and www.cybersitter.com.

Programs can be even more helpful in monitoring computer use. Instead of or in addition to blocking productivity-stealing sites, you can choose to know every keystroke and site visit your employees are making. This level of computer monitoring is often part of an end-point security system. The solution a lot of small business use is a web-hosted system that combines software on the PC with remote monitoring services. For a free foray into monitoring, visit http://activtrak.com/. More feature full options include Symantic Cloud and Trend Micro Worry Free.

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In my own private practice, blocking or limiting access to Facebook would not work because Facebook is an essential part of our business. In addition to posting, Facebook is becoming an increasingly popular communication platform. People are using the messaging option to contact us. This requires real-world monitoring and timely quick responses.

Is there any benefit from the occasional employee on Facebook? That is something I will leave up to you to explore and decide. For me personally, I would feel like a huge hypocrite if I were to reprimand an employee for the occasional YouTube video watch or Facebook session. From looking at the amount of you on ODs on Facebook, it appears a lot of you should feel the same!

 

 

References

1. King C. Social Media Addiction Statistics. Social Media Today. Available at: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/carianneking/2015-06-26/social-media-addiction-statistics-infographic. Accessed 01/13/2016.

2. Smith A. U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015. Pew Research Center. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/. Accessed 01/13/2016.