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Social Media Use Policy

Everywhere you turn today you will find social media. People taking selfies at the grocery store, responding to Instagram while walking down the street, and of course checking Facebook status while clocked in at work. What do you do when social media use gets out of hand in the workplace? It can seem like a never-ending battle with employees, but it doesn’t have to be that way.   

Before you go any further, draft up a social media use policy. This will save you headaches and possible litigation. Employees can agree to it and follow it or they can find work elsewhere. Sounds harsh, I know, but your business’s reputation is not worth Mary’s selfie. Don’t get me wrong, the policy doesn’t have to be rigid and forceful. Your employees are adults and can handle responsibility. Similar to a job description, policies allow for clarification and accountability. Great for both employer and employee.   

To create a social media use policy, start by splitting the policy between company official accounts and personal accounts. Then take a look at rules and regulations. With this part, you want to clearly overview your brand as well as how you want it perceived. It is important that employees are on the same page for this. That way the message is consistent across all platforms, no matter who posts or comments, talk about confidentiality and what company info can or cannot be shared. It can be similar to the non-disclosure you had your employees sign when they got hired. Then, of course, outline the potential consequences to not following these guidelines. Ensure these are clear and concise because a loophole can be quickly manipulated. Then you can go onto the same steps but for personal use.  

Once you have that jotted down, you can move to the next part, roles and responsibilities. It is in this section that you have to figure out who will have access to the company’s social media or to any in general. Think about it, it might not be best to block it altogether. You can harness the power of social media for your benefit though if you play it smart. Your marketing team will need it, well, to market. Sales can keep in touch with prospects or members easily and it gives all parties conformation that you care. Beyond that, you may want to give your receptionist or office manager access in order to help with customer service on different platforms.   

While working on this, keep a few things in mind. Don’t discourage use, and ensure the language of the document sounds positive. Employees will get upset with a big change to what they’re used to. A list of don’ts is only frustrating and discouraging. Also, be transparent on why you have a policy. Let them know that productivity has been affected. Not only that, be clear with them about the potential security risks you are trying to avoid. Train the employees using company social media how to see security risks and what to look for. Then finally, explain how a policy keeps everyone honest and accountable. As long as you are transparent about the new policy, implementing it shouldn’t be a huge issue. If you have employees assist you in drafting this document, that’s even better. They are part of the change and not being steamrolled by it.

Watch out Gen x’s this blog is going to sting a little. Today’s workforce is being appropriated by millennials. Is not news that there are many misconceptions surrounding this generation. Every aspect of life in the 21st century has been rocked by these dang millennials. Everything from education, government and economy have been affected by this generational shift. The workforce is naturally one of them to change as well… and yes millennials do work.  

The good ol’ days of back-breaking hard labor is still valid, however, it is being done in a different form using something millennials grew up with, technology. When Grandpa said “work smarter not harder” they took that to heart and have run with it. With that being said, most businesses restrict social media use or ban it altogether while on the clock. But is that necessary, and is it really helping productivity? That answer is interesting. It just might be hurting your business’s productivity. Granted, driving a forklift and seeing what’s on Facebook is not an ideal situation at all. However, there is more to social media use at work that meets the eye.  

  1. All employees need a mental break periodically. Sometimes that 15 min break just doesn’t do it. In order to continue to create quality work, it is usually a good thing to take a break. Even on a break an employee often stare at the same four walls they’ll spend 8 hours in, so breaking up the content is necessary for quality. 
  2. Another benefit of utilizing social media in the workplace is the ability to network and make professional connections. Sometimes you may deal with vendors, buyers or other professional third parties to your business. Knowing these people and being able to socialize a bit can help in making deals or simple preparation in your job.  
  3. It may actually save you time! Social media can assist employees in getting answers to their questions. Your employees won’t be knocking on the door or calling you with incessant questions. Others online can help them. Whether they’re networking with collogues through a peer group or watching YouTube in order to troubleshoot, social media can increase DIY work. It will also assist greatly in promoting your business.  
  4. Social media will also assist in building a rapport with co-workers and other teams within the company. It encourages communication and cohesiveness. Both of these things are usually a pain point for most businesses, so if it can be increased and utilized through something fun like social media. It’s a win-win.  
  5. Social media can improve employee recognition and retention. Co-workers and employers can see positive things being posted on personal accounts and groups. It adds to corporate culture by allowing recognition to occur. In the busyness of business, recognition can be overlooked which is a shame since it’s such a motivator.  It also can boost morale in general, simply being trusted with social media.  

It can be difficult to adopt this form of culture to your work especially when you’re stuck in running a business in an outdated fashion. Try to be open-minded when working with your millennial workforce. It may be frustrating trying to adapt to a new technology or even attempt to understand it. However, you never know, perhaps you just might learn something. The labor may look different, but it is just as effective if not more. Test your productivity and give your people a chance. Internet culture and corporate culture can go hand in hand.

Very few employees can honestly say they spend the entirety of their workday actually working. Whether it’s the 15 minutes you spend making your coffee in the morning, or the 10 minutes catching up on Facebook after lunch, the occasional work break is inevitable.  

A recent study showed that the average worker admits they waste three hours per eight-hour workday, not including lunch and scheduled break-time. However, a different study stated that workers only spent about 35 minutes, per day, not working.  

While concluding the exact amount of time workers waste during their workday might be difficult (because no one wants to admit they are looking for deals on patio furniture rather than writing that time-wasting blog they were assigned,) we can all say we have been guilty of frittering away some precious time during our workdays.  

Here are the top four ways employees are wasting their time at work and a few ideas on how to be more productive during your workday. 

Time Waster #1: Emails  

Emailing has become the top form of communication in the workplace. What’s the first thing most of us do when we come into work? Check our emails. Technological advances in the way we communicate have brought about the notion of having to be connected at all times. Our clients and even our colleagues tend to expect instant responses to each and every message, even when we are sick or on vacation. While email can be extremely beneficial, a lot of our workday is spent reading and answering emails. Many professionals have actually found they can get much more done during their workday if they don’t respond immediately to every single email. 

Solution: Try not to check your email first thing in the mornings. Instead, spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour working on something more important first thing in the morning. This allows you to fully concentrate on what you have to do without any of those unread emails distracting or stressing you. You can also increase productivity by simply turning off your email notifications for short periods of time during the course of your day. It could be 15 minutes, or it could be 60 minutes, but you’ll realize that during that distraction-less time you’ll be able to blast through your to-do list.  

Time Waster #2: Online Distractions   

The Internet is known for luring employees deeper and deeper into its web (no pun intended) with each and every click. It is said that 60% of online purchases are made during regular work hours and 65% of YouTube viewers watch between 9am – 5pm on weekdays when (presumably) at work. While social media outlets such as YouTube and Facebook can be a great platform for brand awareness and business growth, let’s be honest – how many times are you actually on these sites marketing for your company? You’re not, you’re wishing your uncle Brad a happy birthday. Some professionals have even admitted to spending time job hunting during work hours on company computer – shame on you! 

Solution: If you just absolutely can’t keep yourself from refreshing your Facebook feed every 10 minutes, simply block it. StayFocusd is an extension Google Chrome offers that allows you to set a certain amount of time to any website of your choice and once that time is up, it denies further access to these sites. If that seems too harsh, you can always better manage your lunch time. Take the first half of your lunch break to feed yourself and use the second half to completely indulge and get your daily fix of online distractions without feeling guilty. And if you still can’t get away from these Internet sites, well, you got a bigger problem, buddy.  

Time Waster #3: Colleagues   

Nobody enjoys spending their entire workday in silence. Humans are social creatures by nature. We all appreciate a little chat here and there during our workday. For that reason, co-workers can be awesome. But, they can also be a major time suck.  

How many colors does the printer have? Are we supposed to send this email this week or next? Where should I upload the document? Can you review this really quick? 

We have all had those colleagues that treat us like we are the employee handbook. While it can be very flattering being thought of as the expert of the group, the fact that you are constantly being asked repeating questions can quickly become irritating. Not to mention, it can take up a huge part of your workday.  

Solution: Headphones! Wear headphones while you work. Even if you aren’t listening to anything, having both of your headphones in will signal to your colleagues that you’re focused and in the zone. I understand some of us have very persistent co-workers who may still decide to come on over to your desk and give you quick tap on the shoulder. At that point, simply tell them you are glad they came by because you need help with [insert irrelevant work assignment here]. If they leave your desk with some work to do, they’ll think twice next time they come on over for a chat.   

Time Waster #4: Meetings   

Meetings are a necessary evil in most companies. 47% of professionals say their biggest time waster is having to attend too many meetings. On average, 33 minutes a day are spent just trying to schedule these meetings. You don’t always need to have a meeting, nothing makes an employee more frustrated than having their scheduled filled with unnecessary meetings. We have all been to those meetings where literally nothing pertained to you and absolutely zero words came out of your mouth. While communication in the workplace is extremely important, there are better ways of communicating information that doesn’t involve attending meetings every other hour. 

Solution: Next time you’re invited to a meeting, that you believe might be irrelevant for you, ask the host why they think your presence is needed. You can then set up some sort of system where your supervisor can go in your place and later simply cascade down that information to the rest of the team. If your supervisor is too busy to even attend themselves, then you could ask to meet with the host a couple minutes before to share your insight because you will not be able to stay the entire time.   

There are many other time wasters that we could discuss, but we’ll have to save that for another time – I have a meeting. 

Horrible house guests, we’ve all had them. Whether it be that annoying family member that over stays their welcome, or that old college buddy that leaves beer cans and potato chip crumbles all over your couch, we have all experienced those discourteous visits. If you thought that was bad etiquette, you’ve yet to see the worst…

Imagine coming home and finding that your current work has gone missing, your valuable data has been completely disorganized and all your important files have been put in the trash, what would you do? I’m not referring to your terrestrial home, I am talking about the virtual home most businesses today share – the cloud.

Cloud computing has its own essential and unwritten code of ethics. As a cloud user, you must be courteous of others you share the cloud with, no one appreciates an ill-mannered cloud partner. For those reasons we have put together a few etiquette tips to help you be the best house guest possible when visiting the cloud.

Keep emails and subject lines concise and to the point. If you find yourself four paragraphs in and still haven’t gotten to your point or asked your question, it’s time to pick up the phone.

Subject lines, keep them short, useful and specific! “Do you have a minute to chat?” is too vague and doesn’t really explain the contents of the email. Instead try, “Let’s meet to discuss the new BDR solution and pricing.” Use words that people would reasonably search for. Instead of “Please review the attached,” include what they are reviewing: “Cloud Etiquette 101 blog draft for review.”

Compress your files, please. There is nothing more irritating than receiving an email that takes 10 minutes to load because of a 50 MB attachment. Be sure to always compress files before hitting send. If a file cannot be compressed any further, you can also use a cloud-based storage solution with shareable links such as Dropbox or WeTransfer.

Maintain accountably. Cloud computing works best when there is accountability. Everyone need to be made aware that sometimes there will be many individuals working out of the same project. Because of that, it is always important to communicate all changes made to any folders or files in the cloud.

Ask before you delete! When deleting from the cloud, the files aren’t just deleted from your computer – they’re deleted from everyone’s computer whom you’ve shared the with. Make sure to never delete files from folders without asking.

Don’t pick stupid names. Try and be as specific as can be when naming a file or a folder on the cloud. The file-naming convention that your business uses needs to be understood by everyone in the cloud.

Don’t overfill folders. Be aware of the size of your files. Don’t add a massive 3 GB mega-file that’s going to take up all of that folders storage space. Also, be sure to keep your data organized to avoid annoying others with unnecessary clutter.

Together is the only way we can make #thecloud a better place. Don’t be that person no one wants to share their cloud with. Put these cloud etiquette tips to use and you will surely be invited back into the virtual home.

Data loss is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when – and it happens to every company, big or small. More than half of businesses locate their disaster/backup systems in the same physical location as their primary system – red alert! If you only have one copy of your system’s backup at your office, and your hardware fails or a breach occurs and all your data is stolen, then a backup was completely useless to begin with. In a bit of irony, it turns out that the safest place to be during a storm is “in the cloud.”

Cloud computing not only offers back up protection against system malfunctions or natural disasters, it also keeps businesses safe against cybertheft, ransomware, malware, viruses, phishing, cross-site scripting, employees, and the list goes on. It’s not that businesses don’t recognize the importance of having a disaster recovery plan in place. It’s just that they simply have it in the wrong place.

So, let’s say you’ve finally agreed that it’s time to move to the cloud – where do you start?

Here are some recommendations that can help you though the process:

While the road ahead may be tough, with these tips in mind, you can begin moving your business processes to the cloud safely and efficiently.