Banning Facebook At Work Is Like Banning The Telephone
from the it's-a-communications-tool dept
Earlier this year, we pointed out that it was silly for companies to block Facebook at work, because it’s merely a communications tool. It can be misused, but that would show up in the performance of the employee. Instead, embracing Facebook and recognizing that it’s just a communications platform — like the telephone or like email (both of which some companies wanted to ban when they first became popular), it can be a very valuable tool.
It’s good to see a new study agreeing on that point and encouraging management execs to learn how to embrace social networking, rather than ban it completely:
They are part of the way in which people communicate which they find intuitive. Banning Facebook and the like goes against the grain of how people want to interact. Often people are friends with colleagues through these networks and it is how some develop their relationships…. Allowing workers to have more freedom and flexibility might seem counter-intuitive, but it appears to create businesses more capable of maintaining stability.”
Now, of course, some people are going to show up here and start commenting about how much time they (or others they know) waste on Facebook during the workday. However, as we said, it’s no secret that some people abuse access to those systems — but the focus should be punishing for the abuse, not punishing everyone and throwing out the good with the bad. Others will (as they always do) say something along the lines of “if you’re at work, you should be working — using a social network should never ever be allowed.” Again, similar things were said originally about the telephone and email, and those have turned out to be very productive tools. Letting people communicate in the way they find most efficient and effective is a huge part of making sure a business is functioning well — even if it includes letting employees spend some time on Facebook.