Millennials will soon become the biggest employee group in the world and they are a segment which has grown up using digital technology.
Millennials communicate and engage online. It’s how they function. Workplaces that have strict policies around use of the internet including social media for personal use need to move into the year 2019.
People spend a lot of time at work now and they need to be able to deal with things while they are at work, i.e. banking, shopping, family matters, communicating via social media, and much of this done online and via social media.
If staff know they have the flexibility to deal with personal issues while at work, they are happier, more productive and more engaged with others. The worry of not being able to deal with things while at work causes people great stress.
This is one of the reasons why we ensure there are lots of private areas available across our cowork environments so people can access quiet spaces when they need. While open plan office environments are great, staff also need the privacy of quiet rooms.
Why you should let your staff use social media at work
Here are five good reasons why staff should be allowed to use social media/internet at work:
1. Keeps millennials happy
Millennials seek out workplaces that value their contributions and support them to flourish. Allowing them to use communication methods that they rely on to engage with others signals that you value their involvement.
2. Gives staff a mental health break
Taking short breaks to engage in social media gives staff the time to take a mental health break. Supporting the mental health of staff is becoming increasingly important, particularly given the longer hours we are spending at work.
3. Gives staff time to organise their life
It allows staff to deal with important personal matters like banking, shopping, paying bills, etc. If staff can do these things at work and keep their life in order, they are going to be happier and more productive at work and less stressed.
4. Encourages networking
Most networking is done online. Allowing staff to utilise social media at work means that you are encouraging people to engage and connect with others, build professional connections and expand their social and professional network. For people in sales roles, networking is critical.
5. Increases staff loyalty and retention
Staff will stay at workplaces where the employer supports them and shows they respect and care about them. Acknowledging people’s needs to engage in social media and online activity helps to create a happier work place and demonstrates that you are committed to keeping your staff happy and healthy.
Naturally, rules around use of social media and online activity must be developed in a collaborative way so everyone is involved in the implementation and management of the policy. This creates a sense of shared responsibility and ownership.
Mariska Folley is the founder and managing director of @WORKSPACES, one of Australia’s fastest growing premium service cowork businesses.