Social media use at work is a given when it’s part of your job, but here’s why the rest of your company should also have permission to use social media on the clock.

In the early days of social media, you wouldn’t dream of signing into Myspace or Friendster at work. Those sites were thought of as strictly entertainment, and not appropriate for workday access.

Today, that thinking is changing. More and more employers are allowing social media use at work—even creating entire positions and departments around it. Even so, more than half of U.S. employers continue to block social media access in the workplace, although a Pew Research Center survey found that 77% of American workers use social media at work—even if their employers’ have policies against it.

If you’re facing similar hurdles in your workplace, it can feel like a battle getting the executive team on board with a new-and-improved social media policy. There are plenty of reasons, though, why social media use at work is a great idea.

5 positive reasons to allow social media use at work

Why Social Media Use at Work Is Increasing and How to Make it a Good ThingWhen you’re facing push-back from decision-makers in your company, here are some proven reasons you can share with them about why using social media at work can be a good thing.

1. Increases productivity.

One study found that employee productivity increased by at least 9% when they were permitted to browse social media at their leisure. Research has shown that humans move from full focus to physiological fatigue every 90 minutes, and breaks give people a chance to recharge. That is precisely what scrolling through social media does for employees. It’s a short break for recharging—and it just takes place online versus at the water cooler.

2. Can help with problem-solving.

Sometimes, we face problems at work that we can’t get the answers to from our colleagues. The problems can be wide ranging—from troubleshooting a software issue, working through a grammar question, or even just choosing a local caterer for your next corporate event. Turning to social media, employees can get answers to simple questions that may be taking up too much time or decreasing productivity.

3. Better employee retention.

Employee- Why Social Media Use at Work Is Increasing and How to Make it a Good ThingTurnover can cost your company a pretty penny, but improving employee retention may be as easy as allowing your team to use social media at work. A study from Evolv, which looked at 39,112 U.S. hourly employees, found that employees who used 1 to 4 social networking sites on a weekly basis stayed at their jobs longer than their peers.

4. Improves company culture.

Social media can enhance culture in different ways. It can be as simple as making your company’s social media profiles more interactive by celebrating employee successes and encouraging those employees to interact and share.

You could also branch out even more and use Facebook’s “Workplace,” which is a social space for employees to connect, communicate, and collaborate on work-related initiatives. After Volkswagen Ireland began actively using Workplace, they went from being a company with little collaboration to one that truly values it. The leadership team led the way and today, efficiency has gone up while emails have gone down.

5. Supports branding initiatives.

Employees- Why Social Media Use at Work Is Increasing and How to Make it a Good ThingAs a social media professional, you probably spend a good amount of time posting photos from inside your company to showcase different personalities and events. This is an integral part of your company’s branding, but at the same time, it can feel a little bit forced because promotion is just expected.

Bring branding on social media one step further by encouraging employees to post their own photos and use specific hashtags. You could have one general hashtag they should use for everyday life at work, but also event-specific ones. Remember, all of your employees have friends, and not all of those friends have heard of your company—but they might if your staff can use social media at work and be brand ambassadors of sorts.

Changing perceptions of social media use at work

Employers were initially so quick to write-off social media use in the workplace, but it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing issue. Instead of blocking all social media, encourage your company to adopt a social media policy. Set ground rules for employees who wish to use social media at work, but don’t ban it.

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