How Much Time Is Your Team Spending On Facebook?

Do you know how much time your team is spending on Facebook?
Do you know how much time your team is spending on Facebook?
Image Credit: benstein

As an IT manager you are responsible for using your IT manager skills to make sure that your team is able to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to them. What this means for you is that you need to use your IT manager training to create a workplace atmosphere that is going to be conducive to getting work done. In the past this was relatively easy to do. We could limit what people brought to the office, we could limit the number of breaks that they took and how long those breaks lasted, etc. However, in our modern digital age there is a new distraction that we now need to start worrying about: Facebook.

Why Do People Use Social Media At Work?

A recent survey of workers has revealed that more and more workers are taking time out of their jobs to spend time on Twitter and Facebook. While they are at work they are “reteeting” and “liking” things for a whole bunch of reasons. The members of your team are logging into social media sites while they are at work for a number of different personal and professional reasons.

What is interesting is that 34% of the people who were surveyed reported that they were accessing social media sites in order to take a “mental break” from work. There were a number of other reasons why they did this. 27% said that they were doing it in order to stay in touch with both family and friends. 27% said that they were doing it to create professional connections. Finally 20% said that they were using social media sites to gather work-related information.

As an IT manager all of this use of social media sites while your team is at work should cause you to think. Clearly any time spent on these sites is going to be time that your team is not working on the tasks that you need them to be accomplishing. The big question is if time spent on social media while at work takes away from real work. Unfortunately, the survey revealed the answer to this question also. 56% of the people responding to the survey who said that they use social media for work-related tasks stated that it does distract them from the work that they need to be doing.

What Are People Looking For On Social Media At Work?

You might be surprised at what the members of your team are using social media to research. It turns out that most of us spend a great deal of our time looking up the people that we work with on social media sites. such as LinkedIn. The bad news here for you as an IT manager is that people often don’t like what they discover about the people that they are working with!

How information about other workers that is found on social media sites is going to affect the members of your team depends a great deal on how old the members of your team are. The younger the members of your team, the greater the chances that they are going to come across information that is going to lower their option of someone that they are working with. The flip side of this is that this same group of team members is more likely to come across something on social media that will improve their opinion of a co-worker.

This of course leads to the important question: should you be taking steps to limit access to social media while your team members are at work. It may not benefit you. The survey revealed that about 50% of the respondents worked for companies that had a policy in place about how social media was to be used. Additionally, about a third said that their companies had a policy regarding their behavior while on social media sites. However, 77% of the respondents said that they use social media while at work no matter what their company’s policy is.

What All Of This Means For You

Let’s face it – you’ve got a real problem on your hands. There is no way that the people who are members of your IT team are going to spend all of their time while at work working on what you have assigned them. However, as an IT manager it is your responsibility to make sure that they are as productive as they can be.

Social media sites can have a powerful draw on the members of your team. The reasons that they’ll log in while they are at work are many and varied. The primary reason is to stay in touch with family and friends. However, there are many other reason also. Workers access social media sites in order to take a mental break from work. When workers do access social media sites, they are often looking for information on the people whom they work with. Younger workers are more likely to change how they think of a coworker based on what they find out about them online. IT managers may try to prevent members of their team from accessing social media sites while at work, but this rarely works.

As an IT manager it is your responsibility to make sure that your team can deliver on the projects that you’ve promised to complete. Social media can be very big distraction for your team. You need to have a talk with your team and remind them how important the work that they are doing is. No, you probably can’t stop them from using social media while at work, but you may be able to bring their attention back to the work and the IT team building that you need to have them complete.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If you discover that one of your team members is spending too much time on social media while at work, what steps should you take to fix this problem?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So let’s be clear about this: I am all for more security when it comes to my credit cards. On more than one occasion I’ve discovered that somebody out there has “cloned” my credit card and is running around town buying things with it. The good news is that the credit card company detects what is going on and shuts the card down, the bad news is that I have to wait a week until new cards show up that I can use. Visa has a fix for this problem; however, it’s looking like someone didn’t use their IT manager skills because their fix might be worse than the problem that they are trying to solve!