HK firms lead in staff access to social media
A recent survey has revealed that Hong Kong companies are the least likely in the region to block staff from accessing social media sites at work.
The survey, which was conducted in part by Robert Half International, found that just 8 per cent of respondents said they were prevented from accessing social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Windows Live Messenger. In contrast, the average is 17.8 per cent for the other jurisdictions in the region.
"Most Hong Kong firms allow access because they don't see it as a huge problem," says Andrew Morris, Robert Half's managing director for Greater China. In fact, contrary to conventional wisdom, allowing your staff access to Facebook from time to time may actually help enhance their performance, suggests Morris.
"Ultimately, you have to treat your staff like adults. Employees need to take mental breaks. And when they do, they generally tend to be more efficient," he says.
This, of course, begs the question whether a company needs a social media policy at all. As far as Morris is concerned, the answer to this will likely differ from one organisation to the next.
"It really depends on the corporate culture. At the very least, however, I think it's important that you educate everyone on social media - the benefits, as well as the potential negatives. Furthermore, having a clear policy in place helps a company streamline what's appropriate and what's not, thereby making everything more open and transparent," he says.
As such, 71 per cent of the 410 Hong Kong respondents said their organisations had at least some form of social media policy in place. But while a level of responsible social network usage appears to be acceptable, extending your digital friendship circle to include your co-workers may produce some undesirable results, Morris says.
"If you're a manager linking with some of your staff and not others, for example, this may produce a sense of favouritism."
Accidental or reckless revelations of personal content, meanwhile, are another common problem with social platforms, despite the availability of various security and filtering options.
"At the end of the day, perception is reality," notes Morris, who cautions that what might be reasonable to you could be unacceptable and even damaging to others.
"I myself think employees should keep their personal and business lives separate," he adds. "Having a blanket rule whereby you don't have anyone from work on your Facebook could make things a lot easier."