It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote a blog pertaining to how technology has become a disruption to a most basic aspect of the workplace … meetings and the UNinvited guests we bring to them. Meetings that used to take an hour at the most have morphed into taking up 3+ hours. When you think about these being company management meetings or department meetings involving people charged with very specific and important jobs this becomes a very extravagant and wasteful use of time. Well … the apparent fungus is not stopping at meetings.
In the past few weeks while working with coaching clients who are trying to improve their productivity … either at the bosses request or their own … the subject of ‘social media’ has moved front and center. And what is beginning to rush to the forefront is the question of when social media is an asset to our doing our job better vs. when it moves into the arena of a liability. It is evident that using social media sites can truly enhance our ability to research … individuals and companies who we want to approach for future business or simply to learn more about them. They can become valuable networking resources. It this sense … it’s all good.
However there is a faint line that upon crossing, the most valuable social media sites have the ability to become unsocial in terms of the impact they can have on our jobs. This is occurring more and more frequently as users, upon completing the valuable assist these sites can provide, just think they will take a brief moment to check the facebook page for messages. Here the quick minute easily grows into many.
One client admitted, rather than take lunch away from the desk, they choose to eat there and ‘relax’ by playing on their personal sites. And for how long? Maybe for a few minutes and finally, admitting to as much as an hour plus! Wow! Not only do they not get away from the desk to recharge. They also create an impression among observers that can, in fact, put that job in jeopardy. The casual observer does not know they are on a break or on their lunch, only that they are sitting at their desk Facebooking.
The leader of one client organization just told me that she has made it well known that if at any time while at work she discovers someone on a social media site, the message they would be delivering is that the company is overstaffed and they will be the first one to leave.
If you’re reading this you will have one of a few reactions.
- You will be curious to monitor your own use of social media sites and make an honest assessment of how you are using them … to the benefit of your job or your pleasure … and then act accordingly.
- You will see your own time spent visiting sites as minimal with a minimal chance of being caught and somehow, justify that it’s your own personal time (i.e. break or lunch) so there is no harm being done
- You will plead guilty as potentially charged and through very good self-management, make your own strict rule that you simply will not visit such personal places while at work.
I suppose it depends on how much of a gambler we want to be. I can only say with confidence that this is another example of how companies are reclaiming the driver’s seat of their organizations. When leadership observes behavior that is contrary to the vision of what they intend to achieve, they are simply going to be intolerant of that. It’s really happening and the question that needs to be answered by all of us is if being personally social is worth our job. Doesn’t it seem too costly?