UAE Businesses Limit Employee Social Media Access During Work Hours

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Social media: helpful or harmful to businesses, that is an ongoing debate. Do employees spending time on social networks help a company or do they in fact hurt productivity in the workplace? A lot of companies in the United Arab Emirates limit employees’ social media access during work hours, a new survey shows.

The majority of over 900 IT professionals questioned in a survey by Gulf Business Machines (GBM) say they have partial or social media restrictions at their working places.

35% of the respondents stated they have a complete social media sites ban, while 33% mentioned they have partial access limitations. 32% of the participants said they have no restriction when it comes to social media activities.

Another survey conducted by Khaleej Times on a few residents working in Dubai showed that most of them think that productivity would increase if access to social media networks would be prohibited. They also emphasized that the sector the people work in plays a major role when taking the decision of banning social media network access or not.

“It’s pointless to block social networking websites in mass media corporations. But in a financial or banking sector, there is not much benefit to employees browsing social media sites (though) it does take the stress off work,” said banking professional Tanu Joshi.

“The challenge that businesses face is in finding a middle ground which allows them to tap into the power of social media, while ensuring that it does not negatively impact productivity” stated Hani Nofal GBM director of intelligent network solutions.

“One option that is being considered is the adoption of social media-based collaborative tools that have specifically been developed for an enterprise environment” Nofal added.

The survey also sowed that 62% of the IT professionals can bring their own devices and connect them to the company’s networks. A third of the respondents own up to three such devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.).

I know companies in many parts of the world which limit social media access with the declared purpose of increasing productivity, and I also know companies that encourage employees to be visible on social media as this could in the end help the company and its brands if employees talk about what they do. It is indeed a fine line between helping the company they work for by spending time on social media and wasting time and valuable money posting silly things and playing games for hours and hours. In the end, it is also a matter of employee responsibility and self control.

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