In our connected world, where do we draw the line between social and professional interaction? With social networks playing a greater role in business, the distance between these two worlds is rapidly shrinking. According to a study made by Kaspersky Lab France, 54% of working people, aged between 25-30 years old, say they work from home; and 53% of them are ready to mix working from home and at the office.
That said, is it important–or even possible—to maintain boundaries between social networking and business? Or should the professional sphere be inspired by the social revolution?
Gen-Y: Blending Business and Social
Today more than ever, the social and the professional overlap: we network for jobs on Facebook; recruiters access candidates’ personal information over the Internet; employees work from home; companies share their business challenges on social media, and so on.
The arrival of the so-called Generation Y into the labor force has significantly affected the way things work: always online, Generation Y naturally uses social networks in the work world as well. Private matters encroach even further on professional life.
For their part, companies have come to realize that being socially connected can lead to greater innovation and a competitive edge.
In today’s world, no company can afford to ignore social tools.
“Social” the Future of Business
Companies no longer operate in isolation. They’re now part of an ever-changing environment, permanently connected to the outside world via social networks, cell phones, text messaging, email, and the like.
The concept of businesses going social refers to the process of enterprises leveraging social technologies to drive business in real ways. Marketing, Sales, HR, Customer Service – enterprise social networks and other social functionalities benefit various departments by targeting customers more effectively, better sourcing talent, connecting sales teams and analyzing and responding to issues faster.
That said, opening up and even promoting social networking within a company raises questions about access to intellectual property, time management and, above all, IT security—all of which necessitate activity clear stance on personal vs. professional social networking in the office.
Whether or not your company permits unfettered social media use during office hours, here are a few tips to ensuring that social networking remains a resource and not a liability:
- Remind colleagues to use common sense: a confidential professional document has no place on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or anyone’s individual/personal social networking profile
- Establish your company’s policy on personal social networking while in the office. Does your management prefer to block all social media sites accessed from office equipment? Do they allow some platforms but not others? Which ones and why?
- Detail strict policies for security and the protection of data. Even though computer security is complex and affects all parts of an organization, it can often be addressed using simple solutions and best practices.A seminar on the business aspects of social networking is a great way to make your colleagues aware of these issues.