Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

Telephones Banned From The Workplace

Didn’t you get the memo or hear the announcement at the company meeting last week? Management have decided that telephones will no longer be permitted in the workplace. Sounds crazy, right?

We need our telephones at work so that we can reach our customers, business associates and check in on our families. The truth is that I don’t really use my phone at work very often, because I can easily check in with our customers and my family via social networking sites (SNSs) like Twitter and Facebook. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Photo by: Newton Free LibraryI was shocked when I read on Computer World that 54% of U.S. companies say that they have banned workers from using social networking sites (SNSs) like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace while on the job.

We have our phones, but we don’t sit and gab to our friends all day on them. We don’t do this because we know it’s inappropriate. I’m all for reprimanding someone who abuses the phone just like SNSs, but give me a freakin’ break!

Employees should be allowed to access SNSs at work because they need to understand them. If we weren’t allowed to ever use the phone, how would we know how to sell* using it? It’s the same with the social web, if employees can’t use it, how will they create new ways to use it for business? Your customers are using social media to talk about your business. If you aren’t following along you’re missing the boat!

On top of this we are working far more hours now than ever before. Wikipedia:

A 2007 C.I.A. estimate of United States labor force participation placed it at approximately 153.1 million individuals. Assuming each individual worked a 1987 average work week of 1949 hours, working time rose from 121 billion man hours per year to 398 billion man hours per year. This represents an actual extension of the working time by 247 percent over the fifty-seven year period. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that between 1950 and 2000 the number of individuals in the active labor force grew 227 percent from 62 million to 141 million, and was projected to reach 192 million by 2050.

Most people I know have Blackberries and iPhones and are answering work related emails at all hours of the day. I often answer tweets and emails in the middle of the night and on weekends, I never stop doing my job when I leave the office.

I love my job and love interacting with our customers, but it is part of my job. To not be able to take a break and have a laugh at a YouTube video is crazy. I’m lucky though, I have full access to the web at work.

The Computer World post says that:

Nucleus Research, an IT research firm, reported in July that employee productivity drops 1.5% at companies that allow full access to Facebook in the workplace. That survey of 237 corporate employees also showed that 77% of workers who have a Facebook account use it during work hours.

As I mentioned above, people who abuse SNSs should be reprimanded, but not allowing anyone to access the social web is ridiculous to me. How about you?

* I hate telemarketers just like you do.

Photo by: Newton Free Library


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  • Dave this is so true and I'm a perfect example of how SNS's help business. When I was looking for a new van I looked up an old pal of mine from Highschool on facebook. We had many conversations back and forth for a few weeks and when a vehicle came in while he was at work that he knew would be perfect for me, he had no way to contact me. FACEBOOK had been banned from their Toyota dealership. He had to tell his boss that he needed to go home 15 minute drive log into facebook to be able to contact me. The sale was almost lost as three others were interested in the van. In the end I got it, but it was his perseverance and facebook that sealed the deal not the telephone!

  • Thanks Cara. That's a really great example of how companies should be
    engaged in social media, rather than ban it altogether.

  • We block all social media sites do not allow any cellphones in the building – and we work 8an-6pm.

    Honestly, I dont have any problem with the policy – since there is no impact on our ability to do our job. There are less distractions and interference. I have worked at businesses where people are on the cellphones and twitter all day – and its impossible to get anything done.

  • Tell me Mr. No Social Networks @ Work. How did you accumulate 12,420
    followers after office hours? :)
    Good to hear from you Chris! Thanks.

  • Well said. But HR people and lawyers still ban social media at many companies

  • It's really unfortunate that they do. Thanks David.

  • Well said. But HR people and lawyers still ban social media at many companies

  • It's really unfortunate that they do. Thanks David.

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