Digital Work Life – social media and office politics

Digital Work Life is the latest in AVG Technologies Digital Diaries series. 4,000 adults in ten countries (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US) were contacted.  The research found worrying gaps in the education and guidance that organisations give their employees about what is acceptable to share.  It also found that 53% of respondents believe that social media has eroded their privacy in the workplace.   This figure rises to 64% in the UK and the US.

Other interesting findings:

  • Over 25% have felt pressured into accepting a friend request from a colleague (34% in Italy).
  • Over 50% of UK and Australian companies have cyber-bullying policies.  This falls to only 23% in Germany and the Czech Republic and only 20% in France
  • 15% of US workers reported they had received a social media insult from a colleague
  • Nearly one in 10 of worldwide respondents has had a manager use information gleaned from social media against them or a colleague.
  • 60+% of US and UK respondents believe employers are responsible for online behaviour of employees during working hours – even if they are using personal accounts.  This dips to 27% in Germany

The need for education

It is vital that organisations educate their employees about social media etiquette and are clear about who is responsible and accountable for the use of social media tools.  A blog post by RL Stollar highlights what exactly can go wrong – and how quickly – when inconsistent policies meet an inadequate understanding of the role of social media.  The resultant ‘social media meltdown’ is a case study in how to get it wrong.

Key learnings

  • Employers should offer clear codes, guidelines or policies and clear examples of what is, and is not, acceptable social media behaviour
  • Policies are not enough. Education and awareness in the application of policies is vital
  • Employees should create – and follow – their own personal social media guidelines
  • Gen Y’ers in particular should think carefully about how they ‘transition’ their social media presence into the world of work
  • Create special ‘walled gardens’ for colleagues if you wish to restrict what you share.

More information on Digital Diaries can be found here.

About Val Skelton

I am the editor of Information Today, Europe. On the main site, we cover news and publish feature articles by information, research and knoweldge practitioners and thought leaders. On this blog, we aim to cover other topics of interest to our readers.

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