54% of Businesses Prohibit Employee Social Media Use

Survey Suggests Majority Don't Want Employees on Social Networks

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Social Media]

New research from Robert Half Technology indicates that over half of chief information officers (CIOs) do not allow employees to visit social networking sites for any reason while they’re at work. This information comes from a survey of 1,400 CIOs from companies around the US with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked in the survey: Which of the following most closely describes your company’s policy on visiting social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, while at work?" Here is how they responded:

Prohibited completely – 54%
Permitted for business purposes only – 19%
Permitted for limited personal use – 16%
Permitted for any type of personal use – 10%
Don’t know/no answer – 1%

David Willmer"Using social networking sites may divert employees’ attention away from more pressing priorities, so it’s understandable that some companies limit access," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "For some professions, however, these sites can be leveraged as effective business tools, which may be why about one in five companies allows their use for work-related purposes."

  Employees potentially damaging a company’s reputation (not to mention their own) is still a big concern. "Professionals should let common sense prevail when using Facebook and similar sites — even outside of business hours," said Willmer. "Regrettable posts can be a career liability."

Granted, the information presented by Robert Half is only representative of 1,400 companies, but the percentage of those businesses who prohibit social network use completely is likely to decrease in my opinion. There may be an increase in those who only allow it for business use, but as more companies figure out ways they can measure ROI with social media, they’re going to want to get employees involved. I would expect more of a balance between those who prohibit it, and those who limit it to business use.

Do you want your employees using social media? Discuss here.

54% of Businesses Prohibit Employee Social Media Use
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://gotbusinesscards.info Steve

    My employer doesn’t allow the use of many different social media technologies and blocks most of them. They do not want time wasted during the day and do not want communication released that is not filtered through the legal department.

  • Xaasha

    Even I Don’t allow my employee’s to use Social Networks, Or Other Communication programs..
    Its a wastage of time during work time..

  • andrew b

    If the employee has a smartphone it’s very easy to access the social networking sites.

  • Guest

    As an employer of a small staff it’s amazing how many people still don’t realise the real cost of employing staff members.

  • http://inchoo.net Magento Design

    LoL, I can’t do my job without social media access!

  • Guest

    The same arguments against social networking could be made for the internet, or even talking to coworkers. It can waste time and be a distraction, but so can almost anything. If an employee is not working it

    • Guest

      Is that your employer’s fault, or that of the irresponsible people who can’t follow common sense rules about the internet? Once again, it’s he few idiots who spoil it for eveyone else.

    • Constipated Employee

      It’s time for some of you bosses enter the 21st Century…or even the 20th.

      If you have employees who aren’t doing their jobs, then measure their outputs and nail them at review time. It doesn’t matter WHY they are not doing their jobs. You should only care about the work being done (or not).

      And that also lets who know which are the slackers to concentrate on instead of nailing everyone — including your best employees whom you don’t want to alienate if you have any brains to manage with.

      But all I keep hearing on all these posts have nothing to do with quantifying employee assessment backing it up. Instead, you wall think the appearance of work being done is more important.

      It’s like the moron managers I have had who don’t like it when I work from home. Never mind that it can be proven beyond a doubt I get more done (fewer distractions)…they rather need to fulfill their psychological inadequacies instead of managing by output metrics.

      BTW, I’m still here and those managers got the boot. Seems that their ability to get more productivity out of us didn’t meet muster with the Big Boss. That and the problem of them promoting suck-ups who really can’t get any real work done but sure look good because they make the proper appearances and say the right things caught up with them.

      And don’t quote me “If you don’t like that than you can leave”. Sorry, but as an employee I have a responsibility to work in the most productive manner as possible regardless of what powerless middle management peon I report to thinks. Small businesses where I report to the actual proprietor(s) or their delegates who have real power are another thing. In that case, you are correct and I should (and I have) leave. It is their business and they can be as stupid as they want, I firmly believe.

      For those of you managers on here who can’t stand what I just wrote here’s another shocker: You’re a crappy boss more useless than an Obama promise. Logic and data back me up.

  • Guest


  • Gus

    If everyone was above board and paid attention to the rules then you could just educate them and expect them to abide by common sense rules. Unfortunately what I call the 10% who refuse to follow any rules or are downright rotten apples ruin it for everyone. So, for companies who have no need or who have serious security to restrict social sites should restrict them. many places do not even let cell phones in the office. If a person doesnt like it they always have the choice to move on with no prejudice involved. Some people like certain companies, others do not.

  • http://ronaldredito.org/blog/ Making Money Online Philippines

    When I was working in a contact center here in Makati, Philippines, we don’t even have access to the internet. WE only use intranet.

    I believe giving employees access to social media sites will result in low productivity. Social media are so addictive that takes a lot of an individual’s time.

    I will also result in one’s loss of concentration on the assigned tasks.

    • Employee At An Enlightened Firm

      …but I just went to my HR director and asked her about our employee handbook policies regarding social networking at work.

      She said it is not even mentioned and THEN (no…I am not making this up) she said that if anything they encourage people to do it because then employees can quickly get some social catching up done and work some more. If people connect for a half hour or so with their buds in between meetings or whatever and keep working until 8pm instead of leaving at 6pm so they can hit the bars with their friends, that is better for the company.

      Like I said, I didn’t make any of this up. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

  • http://www.pcivideocard.net Denise

    Most larger companies would have to employ one person just to block questionable sites. I used to wonder what the criteria was for what sites were blocked at a former employer. While social networks were banned, people were always finding mindless sites to waste time on!

    • Guest

      Has anyone ever asked the question…

      Why is the office so boring and stultifying that people need to go escape into social media? The office needs a reworking if it to captivate people’s attention for 8 hours a day. Having IT block user sites and policing people’s behavior will never stop them from daydreaming, the oldest technique used to save ourselves from the prison we call “the office.”

      You can take away our Facebook but you can never take our imagination!

      • Guest

        Why don’t you apply your imagination to the job you’re being paid to do? Why is it that people think it’s some else’s obligation to keep them entertained, even while they’re being paid to work? Yes, it’s an employer’s obligation to keep employees safe, secure and reasonably comfortable, but entertained? I don’t think so. It’s no wonder so many jobs are being lost to overseas competition.

      • Guest

        If your work is boring, get another job. The one you have enables you to live your life, so plain good manners should encourage you to get on with it and then play after hours, surely?

  • Larry Hearold

    Two comments actually. First, as an It consultant I see the results of employees using social media sites on workplace computers on a regular basis. Viruses and other malware bouncing around the company’s LAN, crashed PCs and employees sitting around waiting for someone to fix their screwups! Costs the employer money with no productivity.

    Secondly; I as an employer hire a person to perform a job. I pay them not to check private email, BS with friends and family on instant messaging programs, or “network” on social media sites. Its spelled out in my employee handbook what is and is not allowed and the consequences of failure to adhear to MY rules. If the employee doesn’t like my rules they are free to find employment elsewhere and my company will be better off because some other employee that was doing this person’s job can now get a pay increase to reward their efforts. The only person that loses is the moron that can’t seperate work from play!!!!!

  • http://www.venustemple.com Bath and Beauty

    My take is if a company thinks the use of social media can be beneficial for the business then they should hire a social media savvy person to handle that part of the business. Therefore the right person will be paid for those services instead of other employees who are just playing around chatting, tweeting, updating their facebook wall or watching funny Youtube Videos on the company time.

    This is just like when an employee spends his/her time playing the Solitaire game instead of doing the work she is hired for. The same goes for email that has nothing to do with the business.

    As a business owner I can understand why some employers would not allow their employees to visit those social media sites. I know a few Social Media specialists that takes this business seriously not just for the sake of having some fun time online.

    So if you are hire to do a job, you better et on it or go have func somewhere else not on the company time and expensses.

  • http://www.developerspk.com Waseem

    As an employer, I don’t want my employees to BS on company’s expenses, after all, it distracts everyone else!!

  • wayjo

    It’s an age old argument and the clues in the name of the technology genre. “Social” media.

    At work you are meant to do … well … work… aren’t you? Doing personal stuff is never appreciated if someone is paying for your time to work for them. It’s never the other way round is it. How many of us would be caught doing work in our own time? Very few I would hazard.

    If there is a purpose to it, and it is something befitting of your role, then fine.

    If you just want to socialize in my time then you can go get another job where they like chucking money at people who don’t want to actually work for their salary.

    Anything I do in my role has got to have and give value. Any ideas I want to pursue have to be agreed upon. I don’t get paid to be a chat chimp and frankly… if someone doesn’t understand they are paid to do a job rather than socialize, they should consider themselves lucky that still have that job.

    If someone comes round to your house to do some decorating for you at a price, I would think you want to get value for what you are paying. This is part and parcel of employing. All employers want value for the salary they are paying.

    I challenge anyone to find a job ad that mentions all day facebook as a perk in a normal office job not involving social media marketing. No prize of course, but I think it would be funny to see :O)

    rant over :O)

    • Facebook Critic

      If you are salaried, then you are given deadlines and expected to meet them. If that means you mess with your Facebook for a an hour in the middle of the day and do more work later at home at night, why should the employer care?

      It’s called ‘results based management’ last time I checked.

      Try practicing it some time.

      Now, as for the reputation problem, I am probably more on your side. People are BUTT stupid when it comes to what they freely write in their emails and even more so when it comes to Facebook and Twitter. When I want to go crazy, I post with a pseudonym, like I am doing now. But most people don’t have even that much common sense.

      Only retired/rich people are ‘safe’ to openly using this stuff, if you ask me.

      Disclosure: I hate the whole social networking thing and only created a Facebook account because I have to create a posting flow from our web site to FB’s. I am a web developer for a known web site used by millions of people. I guess that made me the most ‘trusted’ employee to work on the project.

      • http://ibackup.com Vadim Dyachenko

        “I guess that made me the most ‘trusted’ employee to work on the project.”

        Yes this is one thing that we can not assume is that all employees are capable of managing their time and work load to meet deadlines. From my own experience I have not found that majority of the people posses time or project management skills. You must have a ton of experience and a good tract record for your employer to trust you with those sites that I call “cyber potatoe” sites.

        In the end it all comes down to each individual.

        Our company does not allow visiting social sites , only sites that pertain to our industry.

      • Guest

        Facebook Critic, you are assuming that all employees have the opportunity to do work later on in terms of having the time and resources. Nope.

        Many actually believe that at work you actually work and after work you… don’t work. Doesn’t sound too crazy does it?

        You are also avoiding the issue of discipline, focus and continuity.

        Results based management is great if it works. In my experience it just leads to people failing because they fail to manage themselves. The fault has been with the employer for not ensuring they do a days work in the working day.

        Allowing people to abuse the working day also allows the less disciplined to cause problems in their life. Time is taken away from the kids and spouses. It’s just not healthy.

        No excuse for dossing at work, none at all.

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom