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The social workplace: Should you ‘friend’ your coworkers?

by | Oct 4, 2017 | Public Relations

Do workers “like” the idea of office friendships crossing over into social media? More than seven in 10 professionals (71 percent) polled by staffing firm OfficeTeam said it’s appropriate to connect with colleagues on Facebook. Slightly fewer feel it’s OK to follow coworkers on Twitter (61 percent), Instagram (56 percent) and Snapchat (44 percent).

In contrast, less than half of senior managers interviewed think it’s fine to engage with fellow employees on Facebook (49 percent), Twitter (34 percent), Instagram (30 percent) and Snapchat (26 percent).

More than 7 in 10 professionals (71 percent) said it’s appropriate to connect with colleagues on Facebook. Slightly fewer feel it’s OK to follow coworkers on Twitter (61 percent), Instagram (56 percent) and Snapchat (44 percent). In contrast, less than half of senior managers think it’s fine to engage with fellow employees on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

According to the worker survey, male employees and those ages 18 to 34 find it more acceptable to connect with colleagues on social media than their counterparts.

Workers were asked, “How appropriate do you think it is to connect with coworkers on the following social media channels?” Their responses:

The social workplace: Should you 'friend' your coworkers?

Senior managers were asked, “How appropriate do you think it is to connect with coworkers on the following social media channels?” Their responses:

The social workplace: Should you 'friend' your coworkers?

*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

“While the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur, not everyone’s comfortable connecting with colleagues on digital channels,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, in a news release. “Before friending or following someone, check if that individual has other coworkers in their networks. When in doubt, let fellow employees make the first move online.”

Britton added, “Interacting with colleagues on social media can help build stronger relationships. But it should be done with care—you might not want to share everything with work friends that you would with closer personal contacts.”

OfficeTeam offers the following don’ts when connecting with coworkers on social media, along with advice for what to do instead:

The social workplace: Should you 'friend' your coworkers?

The surveys of workers and senior managers were developed by OfficeTeam. They were conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and more than 300 senior managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

The social workplace: Should you 'friend' your coworkers?

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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