Survey shows employers fear staff misuse social media during work
Northern Ireland businesses should have "carefully considered" social media policies in place, a new study has found.
A survey which uncovered the extent of bosses' fears over their staff's use of social networking found a quarter of business owners in Northern Ireland believed their employees misused social networks.
But the figures, from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, showed that despite employers' fears, two-fifths of them did nothing to monitor or restrict workers' access to the networks during working hours.
The quarterly survey, which gauges the opinion of SME owners across the UK and Ireland, found that almost half of the workforce in Northern Ireland is permitted to use social networks during business hours, with a third of employees being allowed to also use them for personal use.
Harry Parkinson, managing director of Close Brothers Commercial Finance in Ireland, said: "Social media can be a mixed blessing. Used well it can benefit your business enormously.
"However, if used inappropriately, the consequences can be severe. The misuse of social media can lead to a range of problems in the workplace as what employees say or do in 'private' can have a lasting effect on the company's online reputation."
He said it was particularly relevant during the festive season when staff may be tempted to post comments or photographs from Christmas nights out that are not in line with company policy.