The Impact of Social Media in the Workplace: Pros and Cons

by Joseph DeBenedetti; Updated September 26, 2017
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Social media is often a double-edged sword in the workplace, meaning it can help employees communicate more efficiently while also exposing their shortcomings. Because of that, it’s important that social media is used appropriately and kept in the proper context. Otherwise, it can lead to lost productivity, distractions, employee infractions and even terminations.

Better Communication & Awareness

Social media allows employees to stay connected regardless of their geographic region, which leads to faster communication and greater awareness among teams. Employees can discuss projects long after they’ve left the office, enabling them to work when it’s most convenient. It’s also easier for employees to network and build relationships with people who can influence their career. The connectivity portion of social media can lead to many positive outcomes in the workplace.

Higher Morale & Engagement

It’s easy to share images, video and other content via social media, helping to boost employees’ morale and sense of engagement. Funny pictures from a company Christmas party or team-building event can be fun to distribute on social media. Looking to see who commented on social media posts can also engage employees and keep them up to date on changes going on in the office. Social media can also help employees see what’s going on with their company on an enterprise level. For instance, they can learn about mergers or acquisitions from their company’s news feed.

Lost Productivity & Distractions

Social media can become a bit of a distraction, though. If employees use it as a source of entertainment rather than a tool for communication, it can lead to lost productivity. It can also take employees’ focus away from what’s really important, including zapping their attention when they're working on critical tasks. The lost productivity and lack of focus can lead to poorer-quality products and services, along with higher operating costs.

Employee Infractions & Terminations

It’s not unheard of for employees to take to social media to complain about their bosses or co-workers, because they’re tired of being treated poorly. This can lead to all sorts of problems, depending on the nature of the rants employees make. Ultimately, social media can lead to animosity, write-ups and even terminations, if employees aren’t careful. It’s also possible for rumors to start and spread on social media, making it harder for employees to work together. It’s very easy to turn social media platforms into forums for inappropriate behavior.

About the Author

Joseph DeBenedetti is a financial writer with corporate accounting and quality assurance experience. He writes extensively online with an emphasis on current trends in finance. As a Quality Assurance Analyst, he honed his technical writing skills creating standard operating instructions for a consumer finance organization.

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