New research outlining the latest business adoption of social media has found that over two-thirds of companies are allowing the use of web collaboration or social media tools in the workplace, compared to three years ago when just 11% were.
The research by Clearswift, a software security company, found that more than half of managers surveyed believe that web collaboration technology is now ‘critical’ to the future success of their business.
Almost a third (28%) of employees say there is an expectation to maintain a social media presence for work purposes. Despite concerns regarding employees wasting time, the majority (60%) of managers trust employees to use these resources responsibly; however 25% of employees have sent content via email and social networks that they regretted.
Barriers to adoption of social media have shifted from productivity to focus on security, with 61% of global businesses citing this as their main concern. 51% of managers feel that employees are ‘oblivious’ to security concerns when using web and email technology.
Richard Turner, Clearswift’s Chief Executive, commented:
“Today’s research shows evidence of a change in attitude and confidence when it comes to Web 2.0 in the workplace – from the ‘stop and block’ mentality that many businesses adopted in previous years to an appreciation that Web 2.0 is good for business and should be implemented more fully.
“There’s still progress to be made, however, and clearly security is an issue that many businesses are not yet comfortable with, but the picture today is a vast improvement on three years ago.”
Businesses are advised to implement internet and email policies which, where relevant, cover social media use. Workplace Law’s Internet and email policies factsheet advises:
* An indication of the extent to which personal use of the internet and the email is acceptable, if at all. Employers should be conscious of the fact that employees have a reasonable expectation of some privacy in the workplace and if personal use of email is prohibited (or monitored), employers are recommended to provide workers with some means of making personal communications that are not subject to monitoring (by telephone, for example).
* An instruction not to share passwords with other employees and to make appropriate arrangements for relevant staff to access work emails when absent.
* A statement that both internet and email use are intended predominantly for business use.
* Advice on email etiquette, including guidance on when staff should add signatures / disclaimers to emails.
* Guidance on what is deemed ‘acceptable use’, in particular an outline of the types of websites that are considered inappropriate to access from work, particularly those that contain obscene, offensive or pornographic content. This should include a warning to employees not to access, download or disseminate any material that could be construed as offensive in nature.
* A clear statement informing employees that their email and internet usage may be subject to monitoring.
* Details of what may happen if employees breach the policy.