Social media at work: a guide to not losing your job


social media

The vast majority of us will, from time to time, overindulge in the use of Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter while at work.

But what is a productivity-reducing habit for most of us, can turn out to be an employment-killer for those that fail to adhere to basic rules and regulations about the use of written communication in the workplace.

With this in mind, here is our guide on how not to lose your job while using the social tools:

Tip 1: Don’t harass people

Yes, this might sound a bit obvious, but some people simply fail to see where the line should be drawn between harmless banter and abusive harassment.

Perhaps the best way to avoid the problem is simply, before hitting the ‘post’ button, to just think – should I send this? If there’s even a shred of doubt in your head, it’s probably best not to.

Several employees were recently fired from Spectrum Health, a US-based firm, when someone posted a picture of a random person’s backside and commented “I like what I see!”.

Not only was the offending camera operator sacked with immediate effect – so were his colleagues that ‘liked’ the picture. This just shows how important it is to carefully consider everything you post online.

Tip 2: Drunk photos on a Wednesday night? Nah.

Most of us love the odd tipple on a Friday or Saturday night. We have to let our hair down at some point, right?!

But while *ahem* tasteless photos on a personal social network profile of your drunken escapades from last weekend might be unsightly, they don’t affect your job and shouldn’t be used by executives as a reason for disciplinary action.

However, if it can be proven that any images were taken before a working day and subsequently affected your ability to work, then any fines or dismissal will be very hard to argue against in a tribunal setting.

Tip 3: Utilise social media properly

Helping your company to properly utilise the power of social media, which has been proven to increase consumer engagement and drive sales, will seriously impress your employer and might even lead to future consideration for promotions.

But it’s important that if you do this, your own networking presence is up to the same standard as your company. After all, nobody wants a Twitter or Facebook page managed by someone that looks like they’ve had one or four too many pints at the pub!

Tip 4: Don’t spend too much time procrastinating

While casual use of social networking has become an accepted norm across the UK’s offices, it’s still important not to go overboard.

Not only will excessive use of Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest irk hard working colleagues, but it might actually cost you your career!

Earlier this year a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) employee was sacked by his bosses after it emerged he was spending too much of his time browsing Facebook on his mobile phone, according to the Daily Mail.

A spokesman said: “DVLA staff cannot access any social networking sites on DVLA computers. Although instances of staff using social media inappropriately are extremely rare, any incidents of staff using social media at work on their personal phones are always investigated and could result in disciplinary action.

“All staff are aware of the current guidance in place and are reminded of the rules on a regular basis.”

So it’s clear then that internal corporate rules need to be abided by as well!

Remember when it comes to social media, if in doubt – don’t.

Tip 5: Be careful who you add as a friend

It’s often tempting to simply add everyone as a friend that sends a request.

But there have been reports in the past that some companies are attempting to get information about rivals’ operations by adding loose-lipped employees of opposition firms on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Most people feel relaxed about their friendship groups and rightfully so, but care must be taken when complete strangers send them requests on social networks – as your personal musings could potentially be a treasure trove for competitors.


Author Bio

Jonathan Gordon is an enthusiastic blogger who writes for a variety of websites including Slater & Gordon Lawyers.

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Howard Iken is a Florida attorney that practices in family law, bankruptcy, and criminal law. He can be reached at