Employees who are encouraged to use social media while at work are among the most productive.
That is according to academic research conducted by Warwick Business School, which spent two years studying the effects of Facebook, Skype, Twitter and other social media tools on workers at a European telecoms company.
Far from being the distraction many managers perceive it to be, employees who regularly tweet, chat and like Facebook posts are in fact more productive, the study found.
The reason being staff members who use these social media tools are better-equipped to answer customers’ queries faster and more efficiently.
Whether in a shared office space or mobile working, keeping staff members digitally savvy also increased customer interaction and enabled employees to communicate over long distances instantly. Moreover, problems were resolved and tasks achieved relatively quickly, the study found.
Researchers took as a case study a large telecommunications company in Europe which actively encouraged its employees to use social media sites as part of their job. These tools were used to communicate with customers and colleagues in order to close sales, answer queries, pitch products, problem solve and more.
Joe Nandhakumar, professor of information systems at the Warwick Business School, said: “Ubiquitous digital connectivity should be seen not as an unwelcome interruption but as part of the changing nature of knowledge work itself that needs to become part of normal, everyday practices of contemporary organisations.”
This study suggests that employees should think carefully about their social media presence. By connecting people over a multitude of platforms it allows them to be flexible about when and where their employees work while opening the lines of good communication with clients and colleagues.
Social media sites should not be viewed by employers as a distraction but as a powerful tool to boost productivity within the company.
Professor Nandhakumar added that the amount of information now at the fingertips of the modern office worker should not mean they are “overloaded, but empowered”.