MENLO PARK, Calif. — If you’ve ever tried friending your coworkers on social media, you may want to reconsider the platforms you’re using, a new survey finds.
Researchers at OfficeTeam, a leading staffing agency in the U.S., commissioned a poll of more than 1,300 adult American workers, about 300 of whom were senior managers, and all of whom worked in an office environment. Participants were surveyed on their social media habits, particularly how they felt about “friending” co-workers on various networks.
They found that while 71 percent of employees felt it was appropriate to add colleagues on Facebook, only 44 percent expressed the same sentiments about following coworkers on Snapchat.
Meanwhile, smaller majorities said it was appropriate to follow coworkers on Twitter (61 percent) and Instagram (56 percent).
Two demographics, males and younger employees (18 to 34), were more likely to approve of social media friending outside of the workplace.
Senior management was the least likely to condone extracurricular friendships on social media, with no more than five percent saying they believed it was “very appropriate” for any of the major social networks.
Conversely, 27 percent of regular employees said that it was “very appropriate” to connect with a colleague on Facebook, while just 14% felt the same way for Snapchat.
“While the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur, not everyone’s comfortable connecting with colleagues on digital channels,” says Brandi Britton, a district president at OfficeTeam, in a press 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.”
“Interacting with colleagues on social media can help build stronger relationships,” she adds. “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 suggests that one be aware of proper etiquette on social media as it pertains to engaging coworkers, which may entail only adding certain people and sharing certain posts.
It should be noted that OfficeTeam only examined workplaces with over 20 employees, which means that different results could potentially be found within smaller working environments.