When you go to work at a new place, you are looking forward to making a couple of friends who will help you pass the work hours without getting bored. Sometimes these acquaintances manifest into more than office relationships and you are eventually riddled with the question – should I add them on Facebook? And what if I add Linda but choose to ignore Keith even though he once handed me a sugar packet and smiled at me? Now all of a sudden you are in a mess, whom to add and whom to ignore? And what if that results in people hating on you in the workplace? Maybe you shouldn’t have added anyone in the first place! Here we will see about adding coworkers on facebook.
In order to rid yourself of this anxiety, we have provided a detailed analysis from all sides for this very important question – Adding coworkers on Facebook, is it worth it?
It is a well-known fact that social media is now a part of our regular life, in varying degrees. Even if you are a frequent user, you may have an account on there just to keep in touch with people superficially. It is normal to connect with family and friends, and even old school friends you had lost touch with, but when it comes to a professional context, it can get tricky.
What are the advantages of adding your coworkers on social media?
- Improves your affinity with each other – It gives you all a little more to talk about than just your work. You end up getting connected beyond the professional sphere and may be of help to each other in other ways too.
- Improves communication – You are accessible to each other in a direct way, which makes communication efficient for both parties. You can also make a group chat to keep in touch and also talk about professional things.
- Potential of boosting your professional growth – When you present yourself in a polished, well-rounded way, you are giving the people who have hired you a chance to see how capable you are of things. Maybe you will end up with new opportunities in your lap because of the connections.
However, there are more downsides to mixing your professional sphere with your personal space.
Why you should not add your coworkers on Facebook
There are a lot of reasons for this, and we are going to outline all of them so that you can think it through before going ahead with your decision, whatever it may be.
- It reduces your productivity. Spending your work hours on social media, or by forming connections from another angle, you’re bound to feel distracted in the workplace. This greatly affects your professionalism and the kind of work you do.
Also, when you add your coworkers to your facebook, they can see when you are active and will be able to tell if you were slacking during work hours.
Even beyond this, one should not use social media so extensively. Try to reduce your phone usage to coffee breaks and when you are not working.
- You are bound to be under scrutiny
Giving away your social media to people you are connected professionally with is not a good idea especially if you are a very social media savvy person. If you like to give little updates about where you have been and like posting photos from your night outs and parties then you should maybe not do it. Your fun night out spent getting drunk with your friends may paint the picture that you are an irresponsible person in the office.
Also if you ever lied to get out of work and then decided to use social media, your lie can be easily caught. Imagine saying your grandma is sick just so you could catch brunch with your friends and one of your friends tags you in a selfie. Now, that doesn’t sound so nice, does it?
A lot of workplaces now run a background check on their employees on the internet. So it is suggested that you keep a low profile and make sure your accounts are private everywhere. Nothing on the internet ever dies, so be careful what you post about. You may not be a celebrity but something you said a few years ago may come to bite you in the ass and get you “canceled” in the professional sphere of your life.
- It can impact your career negatively.
As mentioned above, a lot of companies are now using social media to track their employees and their behavior. A background check is run to check the kind of temperament a potential employee is going to have. There are a lot of things that may seemingly appear to be harmless but can make you come under the radar for all the wrong reasons. Some of these reasons include – alcohol consumption, substance use including nicotine and weed, discriminatory comments, “dark” jokes which are just veiled problematic comments against marginalized communities, homophobic/racist views, criminal behavior, information that goes against what you told your employers, bad-mouthing your company/employees/coworkers, etc.
If you are still unsure about what to do in such a situation, here are a few guiding points you should think about before taking any step –
What is your work culture like?
Your work environment can help you figure out whether you should move ahead with sending friend requests to your co-workers or not. Are people allowed to socialize beyond the workplace? Do your co-workers share camaraderie with you and talk about things that are not work-related? Similar queries can make you figure out if it is a good thing to allow yourself to be seen beyond as an employee/co-worker.
If you work in a place where people are mostly your age and lifestyle choices are freely discussed and not frowned upon, then you can go ahead with accepting that friend request, or sending one yourself.
How are you presenting yourself on the internet?
Here are a few pointers you should keep in mind so that you can avoid situations that would end in you getting in trouble –
- Are you happy with what you have posted on the internet about yourself? Do the photos on your timeline/feed do justice to how you are? It may be a harmless photo from a vacation but to your employers, it may be a testament to your personality and may even make them judge your work ethic.
- Do you talk about work? A lot of people use Twitter and other social sites to manage office work. You can do this too by maintaining a balance between what kind of things you share, making it a mix of personal and professional things. This can include a variety of things, from retweeting your co-worker’s good news to posting a photo from an office outing – this reflects how you are comfortable with your team members and are enjoying work, all positive things which will benefit you in the long run.
- Scan your profile. Are you comfortable with having your boss scrutinize it? Is there anything on there that can possibly make them think less of you? More than just silly embarrassing photos, this is about what kind of views you hold and how vocal you are about them.
- Do you have anything in common with your coworkers? Or is this friend request just out of a sense of obligation and the need to increase people on your social media account? It is totally normal to seek out people at the workplace and even form honest friendships but it is not a very common occurrence. You cannot judge someone just because you are with them for a few hours every day, so you don’t really know what you’re getting into. If you have been working there for a while and have a natural dynamic with a certain coworker, adding them online will be the next organic step, but do not rush it or force it.
Keep in mind that no matter what, the line between personal and professional life should be explicitly marked. So even if you do end up accepting friend requests or sending one yourself, remember to do so with caution. We would suggest you don’t fall into this cycle because one friend request may turn into you following everyone in your workplace and getting dragged in things that aren’t your business, to begin with.
You should also remember that all social media is not equal. Facebook is a site that seems like a great place to connect with friends and lost connection but the amount of visibility and interaction you get on there is too overwhelming sometimes. You should remember that nothing ever leaves the internet so while you may think you are in the clear after deleting a few posts, you never know who has it all saved. Companies nowadays are digging up things about their employees so that they can steer clear from people who will be a potential loss to the company’s image and reputation.
It may be different for everyone and these aren’t solid answers which may be of use to all, but we trust everyone to be the better judge of their own situations. But we will still suggest that you keep your private life away from your professional one, more for your own peace of mind. Your social media and your personal life should be a safe space for you to unwind and relax (as long as you aren’t being terrible to others in doing so!) after your work. It is better to keep your account private and only allow people you are confident about in your circle.