The Work Place & Personal Social Media...Proactive or Problem?

By Amelia Clark Being born early in the first year of the official Gen Y bracket;   (I could just tell you I’m almost 30, but I would rather you do a little research), I barely qualify as a member of this up and coming generation that’s getting a lot of buzz about their place in the workplace. I mean, I can’t really say I “grew up” with technology and I don’t have the characteristic A.D.D. attention span.

I am, however, concerned with access to my personal social media in a work environment. My (mostly younger) peers have been getting a bit of press lately regarding their role in the workplace, and one statistic has stuck in my mind: 21% of workers would turn down a job offer if they would not be allowed access to personal social media and email. Yes, even in our current tough job market.

This is from Clearswift’s 2010 Report ‘Web 2.0 in the Workplace,’ and though I originally heard this statistic in reference to recent graduates, they are not speaking specifically about Gen-Y. Have you heard the term ‘Generation Standby?’

Generation Standby are those of us who never seem to fully switch between ‘work’ and ‘home.’ You know, doing your online shopping on the clock and checking that email from the boss after dinner at home. Because of increased pressure to work longer hours, employees become adept at switching between work and personal obligations.

The 25-34 age bracket is feeling the most pressure, and while only half of these individuals are also usually considered Gen-Y, the group embodies the Gen Y characteristic of connectivity and living a highly social, technological lifestyle. I certainly qualify, considering I am writing this blog in my living room.

Demanding access to social networking and personal email at work seems like a tall order, considering there is a lot of press about companies considering it a drain on productivity or a security risk. Good news: only 15% of companies polled for the report claimed to actively block or discourage use of Web 2.0 social networking.

While many companies are still struggling with establishing company policies regarding the use of social networking, the trend is definitely moving toward a more delineated work environment and communication freedom for employees. What is your company’s policy?

I welcome your thoughts on the 'company social media policies' discussion; thanks for reading!

- Amelia

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