My employee spends more time on social media than working what can I do?

10 Jan 2018 Answered by Seema Ahmed

With the recent spike in social media, many people find that they are unable to function on a daily basis without compulsively checking their social media accounts namely Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout the day. It is therefore unsurprising to note that these practices have unfortunately crept into the workplace.

Research suggests that 77% of employees use social media at work. Whilst another survey attributes smartphones to the fact that 20% of full-time workers say that they work less than five hours per day.

In order to tackle this issue effectively, employers need to have clear guidelines on Social Media and its limits on personal use within the working day.

Here are some tips below that will assist you to achieve this aim;

Social Media Policy

You may find that your employee spends the best part of their working day flitting between their work computer, and their personal device to check personal emails, shop online and to update social network accounts. Managers can find this difficult to monitor, and almost impossible with larger organisations, as employees can switch quickly between their work and personal use of social media.

Employers should have a clear policy regarding the use of company property during working hours so that employees are aware of what they are allowed to do. Personal use of the internet could be restricted all together, or limited to use during tea breaks and lunch time.


A policy or guidelines could also be drawn up for the use of personal devices, so that employees are aware that the use of such devices should again be limited to break times only.

It should be made clear to employees that if either of these policies/rules are breached, then this could lead to disciplinary action being taken against them. This information needs be relayed to employees with regular reminders, and during the induction process as mentioned below.

Please note that these policies and/or guidelines are not limited to employees only, and can cover workers, and consultants too.


If an employer deems it necessary, IT specialists can also monitor employees’ time spent online on work equipment, or block access to certain websites.

To maintain a steady working relationship between your employees’ and boost staff morale, a balance needs to be achieved, and therefore it would be helpful to liaise with any trade union representatives and staff before drawing up any policies as mentioned above.

Performance management outside the workplace

Home working and/or remote working can allow employees to abuse any such social media policy set by an employer, and therefore difficulties can arise for a line manager to monitor the situation. Once again, effective communication is the key to monitor performance management of employees by holding regular performance reviews and by maintaining ongoing dialogue with all staff.

Get it right from the start

New starters should be made aware of the relevant policies and guidelines that surround the use of social media, and the potential consequences including disciplinary action regarding the breaches of the same.

Discrimination and bullying via Social Media

Although this is a wider and more complex issue, any policy on Social Media should make it clear that employees need to take special care when making references to other members of staff, or talking about their employer in general, as any breach could lead to disciplinary action.

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