Nearly half of employers admit to regularly checking employees social media profiles

Social Media

For many, adding coworkers on social media platforms can be a complicated situation; with the average person spending 145 minutes a day on social network sites, our virtual and professional lives are bound to overlap at some point.

With some recruitment agencies and HR specialists advising against adding colleagues on social media while others encourage it, Instant Offices have identified key points from both sides, along with advice on how to judge if it feels appropriate to add a co-worker.

Disadvantages of Mixing Social Media and Work

  • It can reduce productivity – Spending too long on social media sites can lead to distracted employees, with many companies choosing to ban social media on their networks. If you have a more lenient employer, make sure to keep things in balance.
  • It places you under added scrutiny; the worst-case scenario is losing your job –  Almost half of employers admit to checking up on current employees via social media, with a third (34%) of employers saying they have reprimanded or, in worst-case scenario even fired an employee due to content they found.
  • It can impact career progression – 70% of companies use social networking sites to gather information on job candidates during the hiring process, meaning social media can affect working life before you’ve even started!

The most common social media faux pas that caused potential employers to reject a candidate:

  • 40%: Provocative or inappropriate content
  • 36%: Drinking or drug use
  • 31%: Discriminatory comments
  • 30%: Criminal behaviour
  • 27%: Information that shows a candidate lied about their qualifications
  • 27%: Poor communication skills
  • 25%: Bad-mouthing a previous employer or co-worker

Advantages of Mixing Social Media & Work

  • It can improve camaraderie – The longer you work at a company, the more your friendships with co-workers progress; adding them as friends on social media is a natural progression.
  • Improve communication – Getting to know someone via social media can help tackle workplace small talk.
  • It can boost reputation – Giving colleagues and bosses a glimpse into your personal life gives them a chance to see what you get up to outside the office, providing a more well-rounded view.

How to decide if you should add a co-worker on Facebook:

  1. What is your work culture like? Is it a casual environment? Is there a strong focus on relationships, and are teams encouraged to socialise? These are all factors that should guide you to your decision.
  2. Are you happy with the way you come across online? Look at the last 20 posts you’ve shared or liked. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the way they represent you – would you feel okay with a peer or a boss seeing them?
  3. 3. What do you have in common? It’s not unusual to form genuine friendships at work through shared interests – if you’re friendly with a colleague offline, adding them online will feel more natural and less awkward.
  4. Do you share work-related content on Facebook? If your Facebook feed is a good mix of private posts and content on professional topics, you might consider sending or accepting a workplace friend request.

It’s important to remember that not all social media platforms are the same or appropriate for workplace connections. You may feel more comfortable connecting with co-workers on Facebook or LinkedIn rather than TikTok or Instagram.