While social media platforms may be useful in branding and business contexts, new research has found that 40% of British workers would never add colleagues on a personal social media account.
Ebuyer’s survey of 1,000 Brits found that employees were the most reluctant to add colleagues on Snapchat (51%), closely followed by Twitter (43%).
Yet, at the other end of the spectrum, Brits seemed more willing to add new colleagues on Facebook, with less than a quarter (24%) opting to never send a friend request to their co-workers.
Lee Weymouth, Commercial Director at Ebuyer, explained that the breadth of social media is currently greater than ever. “With social media being such a powerful tool in helping us connect with new people, it is interesting to see such a high proportion of people reluctant to do so with co-workers. This could be for privacy reasons or an attempt to keep their work and personal lives separate.
“However, it is unsurprising to see that many Brits want to stop people from accessing their social media at work. If colleagues are spending considerable amounts of time on social media, this can have an impact on productivity and therefore the performance of both the individual and the wider business.”
When the survey results were analysed by gender, it appeared that male workers were more reluctant to virtually connect with colleagues from the office with 48% of male employees sating that they would never add a new member of staff on social media. In comparison, 35% of women were hesitant to add colleagues online.
While social media may be a core part of the working day in some companies, 27% of Brits felt that social media shouldn’t be accessed on company time. When analysed geographically, Sheffield was the city most against the use of social media at work (47.7%), with Norwich (47.2%), Cardiff and Nottingham (41.5%) and Newcastle (40.5%) following closely behind.
A possible reason for such scepticism with adding colleagues on social media profiles is that so many employers are researching candidates’ online activity as part of the recruitment process.
Therefore, employees may feel nervous about adding work colleagues in case private information gets into the wrong hands.
The key takeaway for HR is to have a clear social media policy put in place so that employees are aware of what is and isn’t acceptable.