The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
When I started my job at Baker Tilly Armenia in 2011, I was delighted to know that the company didn’t block any of the social media sites. The immediate relief that someone wasn’t monitoring me and I had freedom was immediately felt. I started using it being excited that I can juggle both work and social media. However, the company did not have any internal social media tool nor did it use the existing social media platforms to facilitate collaboration amongst employees or generally reap the benefits of the social media platforms.
Soon I realized that everybody at the company was using social media, particularly Facebook, for entertainment that became more of a destruction for colleagues than a facilitator for efficient work. It made me evaluate the usefulness of it in a workplace and become a critique of social media at workplace. I realized everyone wasted enormous amount of time on social media and there was absolutely no benefits to the company.
When I was promoted to a manager position, i decided to ban Facebook (which was the dominant social media platform at the time) in the office. For a small office like mine with 10–20 people, social media is not as useful as perhaps for a large enterprise. When you have a small office, the benefits comes from face-to-face interaction and from endless opportunities to collaborate and talk without relying on the technology (instead walking to the adjacent room to meet with a colleague). Despite initial complaints about the ban, the productivity in the office went up and collaboration among employees increased. Instead of “wasting” time on Facebook and commenting or liking friend’s pictures, employees now had more time to spend with each other and brainstorm new ideas.
Social media at work can be useful if the company is global, big and has many offices and diverse working groups. In such cases, internal social media platforms that enable employees interact and collaborate can certainly create more creative environment at workplace. However, for small companies with very limited locations and similar working groups (consultants, investment bankers, etc), social media can become a destruction and a tool preventing colleagues from face-to-face interaction.
To conclude, I believe the use of social media in the company can have both positive and negative impact depending on the type of company that uses it.