- A new OfficeTeam survey found that 71% of employees polled think it's okay to "friend" coworkers on Facebook. OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, polled 1,000 workers age 18 and older in office environments and 300 senior managers in American companies with 20 or more employees.
- The survey also revealed that employees feel it's okay to follow coworkers on Twitter (61%), Instagram (56%) and Snapchat (44%). By contrast, less than half of managers think it's okay for employees to interact on Facebook (49%), Twitter (34%), Instagram (30%) and Snapchat (26%).
- "While the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur, not everyone's comfortable connecting with colleagues on digital channels," Brandi Britton, an OfficeTeam district president, said in a statement. She advises employees to find out if coworkers have other coworkers in their social media networks before following them, and when in doubt, let coworkers make the first move in connecting.
Many employees simply want to continue the friendships they've developed in the workplace online, so employers shouldn't take any drastic steps just yet. And, as has been seen in recent National Labor Relations Board rulings, missteps with social media policies can backfire and be seen as an encroachment on protected activities, if not handled appropriately.
But more broadly, the data here represents how norms around social media have shifted. It doesn't, however, mention results between different age groups; younger workers may very well take a more casual approach to social media than older workers.
Of course, any bad behavior outside the workplace needs to be examined if an employer knows (or should know) about it. Employers have an obligation to protect workers from inappropriate behavior, including unwanted sexual advances, bullying, trolling, threats and other misconduct from fellow employees.