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Survey finds social media mingling upsets workplace dynamics

By Sara Barker, Mon 1 Aug 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

An Adecco survey has found that befriending bosses and colleagues on social media is leading to regret and distress. The survey found that three quarters of Australian employees would not invite a boss and 21% would not invite a colleague to be a friend on their personal social media accounts.

However, around 1.6 million workers have regretted it, including 25% who were 'appalled and distressed' by a co-worker or boss's social media posts, and as a result have changed their opinion about the person.

The survey found that the implications for businesses can be costly, losing staff and customers in the long run.

“I was so shocked by a Facebook post from a colleague in a sister business that I have stopped referring them work altogether, which may end up costing their company more than half a million dollars in lost revenue per year,” one survey respondent says.

“The survey is an interesting insight into the changing workplace dynamics between co-workers, with social media now having a major impact on how relationships and opinions are formed, both with our friends and our colleagues,” says Lindsey Monroe Ruth, Adecco Group Australia and New Zealand head of marketing.

Overall, 56% of respondents wanted to keep their work and private life separate, 25% wanted to avoid feeling uncomfortable at work, and 20% feared saying something embarrassing that may irk their boss.

Out of Generation Y, the most tech-savvy generation, 25% are less likely to add bosses or colleagues for fear of it affecting their job prospects, while 13% do not want to be caught skipping work.

“While adding our colleagues on social media channels feels like a natural extension of our daily life, it pays to be careful about who you add and what you say,” Monroe Ruth concludes.

Adecco recommends employees use professional social networks such as LinkedIn for work-related networking.

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