Introduction to this document

Social media policy

Use our social media policy to set out your rules on employees accessing social media websites during work time. Whilst you can’t prohibit employees accessing such sites in their own time using their own equipment, such as on their tablets and smartphones, you can try to ensure they don’t adversely damage your reputation, affect your client relationships or expose you to legal liability.

Social media risks

Social media allows users to communicate instantly with each other or to share data in a public forum. It includes social and business networking websites such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn and also covers video and image sharing websites such as YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr and Flickr, as well as personal blogs. Social media has made a massive impact on the workplace over the last decade and employers face a vast array of challenges in dealing with it. These include monitoring usage, protecting intellectual property and confidential information, preventing defamation, protecting business reputation and preventing online discrimination, harassment and cyber-bullying of employees, to name but a few. About two-thirds of UK businesses currently ban access to social media sites at work. Others allow limited access and some permit more unrestricted access. Apart from banning social media usage at work, the most important means of minimising risks is by having a social media policy in place. This is where our Social Media Policy comes in.

Social media use at work

Our policy has three alternative options:

1.       A total ban on the use of social media at work using your IT systems and equipment, other than in relation to contributing to the Company’s own social media activities as part of the employee’s work.

2.       Limits on the use of social media at work - this limits use to outside normal working hours, for example lunch breaks.

3.       More open social media use at work - this provides for reasonable and appropriate use during normal working hours. It may assist you here to give guidance on the amount of daily time spent on such sites that you deem acceptable.

Social media rules

Probably the most important part of our policy is the social media rules section and this applies regardless of whether employee access is during working hours using your equipment or in their own time using their own equipment. This is because online activity can still cause damage to your business and reputation, as well as exposing you to legal risk and potential liabilities in a number of areas. These rules therefore set out a detailed list of employee prohibitions when logging on to and using social media websites and they’re all there for the protection of your business, staff, clients, customers, contractors and suppliers. Finally, the policy contains a section on monitoring of social media activity.