Just a short while ago the response of business to employees’ use of social media during the workday was simply that it was not allowed. More recently, as the line between personal and business use of social media blurs, businesses are developing social media policies to be used in the workplace. Such policies serve the purpose of clarifying appropriate use of technology while at work while acknowledging that employees take advantage of technology throughout the day for personal and business reasons. Savvy business owners and managers are responding to the rapidly expanding universe of technological tools with policies regarding their use.
The Internet provides a virtual clearinghouse of information and examples of such policies. It is possible to access all or part of employee handbooks and company policies published for use by nearly every industry and profession, from public entities to non-profit agencies to educational institutions to large manufacturing operations to law firms and physician offices. Businesses of every size are represented. Entering the search term “social media policies” into a search engine yields pages of templates, examples and resources. Of course, it is important to determine that the information gleaned is current and applicable to the particular purpose required.
Because of the speed at which technology is evolving, it may be advantageous to have any policy reviewed by an attorney or human resource specialist prior to its adoption. Regular updates will need to be made available in order to ensure awareness of expectations regarding emerging technologies.
Heather K. Whitham