Contrary to how it may appear, social media is not an inherent time-waster. In fact, it can actually boost productivity when used to align corporate goals, streamline workplace operations and engage employees in productive, job-related discussions.
Many companies out there are using LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and corporate blogs to get their names out there, attract potential business or employees and compete with large, established companies. More and more, though, they’re also using internal networks, such as Microsoft Communicator, to centralize company activities and encourage teamwork between departments.
Consider these four productivity-boosting perks before ruling out in-office social media:
1. Social networks empower people
When used in a professional setting, social networks can help foster creativity. Having an internal discussion board, for example, lets employees introduce new product ideas, play off one another’s ephiphanys and create open, ongoing discussion as colleagues. Note, though, it’s necessary to respond on an executive level so participants feel heard.
2. Social networks can centralize information
If you enlist a social network internally, you can keep all important employee information — such as holidays, vacation time, training materials, campaigns and company news — in one place.
3. Social networks offer transparency
When internal stakeholders are encouraged to communicate about projects, company policies and goals, they’re given voice and have the chance to contribute to, and comment on, the company's vision and goals. It also allows management to see clearly see and review corporate initiatives objectively; as such, it’s easier to evaluate projects and eliminate unnecessary or unproductive ones in real time.
4. Social networks create community
When used successfully, the ultimate goal of a social network is to promote community. Consider a product or project launch that demands collaboration across potentially disparate departments, or ones that exist in different time zones. A central desktop-type network allows employees to communicate, identify milestones, track goals and visibly acknowledge when a project is complete. If problems arise or a change in course is required, that can be conveyed in a central location as well.