Facebook in the office?

Discussion in 'Social Media' started by silha, May 18, 2011.

  1. silha

    silha New Member

    I have a small company (5 employees) and I plan to block facebook on company computers. Is it a good idea? Facebook can be very distractive and can negatively affect productivity but can this cause revolt in workers? What is your opinion and what is the best way to do that?
  2. darcie

    darcie New Member

    Hi! Thanks for your question. While Facebook can be distracting for some workers, especially if they're playing games like Farmville instead of working, a couple of studies have shown that allowing your employees to use Facebook and other social networking sites, such as Twitter, at work can actually <a title="Social media Use at Work Yields Higher Productivity" href="http://soshable.com/social-media-use-at-work-yields-higher-productivity/" target="_blank">boost productivity</a>.

    One of the reasons it can help your employees is that it gives them a chance to take a breather from work, like we describe in a previous blog post about how <a title="Boost Productivity with the (10+2)*5 Procrastination Hack" href="http://www.choosewhat.com/blog/boost-productivity-1025-procrastination-hack" target="_blank">a little procastination can help go a long way</a>. Longer days and fewer breaks can take a toll on your employees, so it's helpful to step back from those spreadsheets for a bit.

    Secondly, if you're in a creative field social networking sites can be helpful! Not only do we have a Facebook Fan Page for ChooseWhat, but we also encourage our employees to ask questions on their own personal accounts. I get so many ideas and suggestions from Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers! It also helps to create a virtual water cooler so I can see what other people are interested in order to write an informative blog that appeals to the masses.

    Thirdly, the study most people often cite for decreased productivity due to Facebook is a <a title="Study: Facebook use cuts productivity at work" href="http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135795/Study_Facebook_use_cuts_productivity_at_work" target="_blank">2009 study</a> that says that the social networking site costs employers 1.5 percent in productivity. Is completely banning your entire office from Facebook and potentially making them feel punished worth 1.5 percent? I'm not so sure, but for some people it might be.

    I would suggest taking a look at your employees individually. If there is someone abusing personal Internet use while at work, pull him or her aside and talk to him privately instead of completely banning it.
  3. jen

    jen New Member


    Banning Facebook in the office is definitey a personal choice, but it really depends on what industry you're in and how closely connected to your employees you are. Could I ask you to describe your industry and what kind of office setup you have?

    My own personal experience being one of the first five full-time employees of ChooseWhat.com makes me inclined to recommend that you do not ban Facebook. Facebook can be a great tool to connect with your customers, spread brand awareness and crowdsource.

    Small startups, in particular, can get a lot out of using Facebook, namely an opportunity to provide quality customer service quickly and more personably than larger companies. I think that if you communicate these aims to your employees and what you expect out of their general Facebook use, then you won't have a problem of widespread abuse.

    Don't worry too much about whether your employees "goof off" during work. As @darcie pointed out, "goofing off" time can often spur productivity. If you feel you're employees have too much time on their hands to goof off, then simply create more individual objectives and hold your people accountable for turning in deliverables in a timely manner. In my experience, employees only tend to goof off when 1) they don't have enough work to do, or 2) they aren't being held accountable for the work they do.

    Hope this helps!

    Jen UdanChooseWhat.com
  4. ivoca

    ivoca New Member

    I think that facebook should be blocked. There a lot of studies that shows how much faceboook can be distracting and how it negatively affects on productivity of workers. As a company owner you have right to block it, you pay your employees and you pay them for work not for wasting time on facebook. I have blocked it in my company so that is left accessible on breaks and lunch time and it's done with software (facebooklimiter.com)

    Drew Hudgins likes this.
  5. Reece

    Reece Member

    Well, yes I'm sure that there are some studies out there that say that people in general can waste a lot of time on Facebook. However, being that you are such a small company what is your relationship with your co-workers? It is a scientific fact that the way you treat your employees directly effects how they perform. Do you want them working for or against you? Because they can still work against you and the clock without Facebook on their computers.

    I feel like the best way to run a (especially a small, 5 employee) company would be to have an open and honest relationship with your workers. Understand that they might take breaks to converse with friends over Facebook, but also make sure they meet their goals. It seems like this "Facebook Limiter" is just an easy (and temporary) fix. People have Facebook on their mobile phones too, and as I said before, there are much more harmful ways that your employees can waste time once you've blocked their "window to the world" -- Facebook. Why not let them take a look outside every once in a while?

    You can have an effective workforce without dictating every second of every day, don't you think? Society is changing rapidly with social networking and other user-generated content websites, like this one. Why not let your business be a part of the revolution? Make your company a Facebook "Fan" page and promote your company to prospective clients, customers, and even employees over Facebook. You'd be amazed at the PR and HR work you can save by just having an open forum through Facebook for your customers and employees to access. Use the site to your advantage, don't block it just because you've read a few articles about the negative effects of it. As a small business owner, you have the power to turn such an amazing networking tool into a revenue-boost, not a wage-dump.
  6. Koby

    Koby New Member

    Drew Hudgins likes this.
  7. jen

    jen New Member

    I would just like to point out that @Koby voluntarily chooses to use this tool in order to not get into a time-suck so that he can complete his work on time. IMHO, voluntary blocking is definitely better than mandated, but I'll let Koby chime in.
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  9. directinc_becky

    directinc_becky New Member

    @Koby Wong What a genius idea! I used to just disable my account in college during finals to make sure I didn't waste time, but this would be a great alternative.

  10. Koby

    Koby New Member

    Yeah, I still use that Firefox addon today. It's crazy how fast time can fly by on Facebook, so it's cool that you set your time limits beforehand. Like Jen said, this isn't company mandated. It's something I've voluntarily chosen to use that increases my productivity. Everyone's different and might not need the same things I do.

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  12. rozenfeld57mh

    rozenfeld57mh New Member

    It all depends on your office culture, really. There are couple of things you should ask yourself before you disable that access.

    1. Do you believe that Facebook is negatively impacting your employee's performance ?
    2. What will come to replace facebook (and, perhaps a dozen of other social networking sites) once you deactivate it ?

    You see, if you really have an issue with employee performance then facebook is likely an issue with the work ethic at the workplace and thus disabling access to facebook really doesn't address that issue. What you want is for your employees to focus on work while they know that they have access to facebook.

  13. elitebag

    elitebag New Member

    Maybe you can tell your staff they can play facebook after work finished.If close the facebook all the time, they may be angry with you .

    Elite Art&Craft Factory

  14. MISunderstood

    MISunderstood New Member

    I think that a company should only allow Facebook if they use it for their business. Or they can allow the employees to use it during their lunch break. They just need to make sure it is not getting in the way of work efficiency.

  15. Koby

    Koby New Member

    If you really spend the time you should on hiring awesome people, you won't have to sweat the little things like worrying about whether your employees are going to be spending all their time on Facebook.

  16. MISunderstood

    MISunderstood New Member

    I think you should block it, but unblock it during their lunch. Also, Facebook could be a good way to communicate with clients instead of email.

  17. ilovemedia

    ilovemedia New Member

    It all boils down to company principles and work ethics. Some offices pride themselves in providing a pretty easy and flexible work environment where people can pretty much do everything they want as long as they can produce results. Others, on the other hand, prefer efficiency and drive over the results-driven approach. If you want to see whether facebook should be allowed in your office or not, it is best to go back to the basics of your company principles.

  18. DeliaLum

    DeliaLum Guest

    Five employees should be easy enough to manage, talk to them to use FB during breaks and not on office hours. If they still continue to use it then that's the time to block it.
  19. Drew Hudgins

    Drew Hudgins New Member

    Quick idea:

    Totally get what Koby's saying (hire the right peeps and you won't need to worry about anything) — however a lot of hard-working entrepreneurs might struggle to find those people. Small towners don't have quite talent pool as some others.

    Here's a quick0&-easy suggestion or 2

    1) Be up front to your employees. Get them to answer the question, "What is our trade off?" "What are your talents that I rely on you for?"

    This is important to get THEM to answer that. It shifts a psychology "on them."

    Then you can affirm them: "That's right. I need people like you. We've agreed that you'll earn (NOT "I'll pay"… but "you'll earn") $XX/hr for helping this business with your skills and responsibilities [fill in the blanks]. That's our agreement. That's our promise to each other. That's our transaction."

    "What's it called when someone makes a promise to someone but doesn't deliver on their end?"

    Some biz owners might say, "That feels weird" but I'd say, "Get over it. You're the boss. It's your business, no one else's. It took you thousands of hours to build, so if it matters to you, then come up with the ballz to tell your people that!"

    If they hit the road, they were never the right people.

    If they don't, they'll take their responsibilities more seriously. They're more likely to have more ownership and respect you for giving limits — not only giving them limits, but putting it in a way they understood.

    People innocently lose themselves in Facebook (or dozens of other distractions) but they will be MUCH less willing to break a promise or a clear commitment to someone.

    2) "Schedule their off time"

    So only if you like, allow them their Facebook time… yeah, during breaks,… or maybe a break just for Facebook. If they're on some sort of schedule, then WRITE INTO THEIR AGENDA some sort of block of time where they get to "waste time."

    Nuthin' much. Just 10 to 15 to keep the office morale alive (again… IF you even feel it's necessary. Perfect scenario is none of your workers would even care)

    Hope that helps some people.
    leo likes this.
  20. matte_12

    matte_12 New Member

    its very good idea block ip of facebook on server.. i am also working in software house here is also same problem my ban ip

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