Half of employers regularly check workers’ social media accounts

Research collated by Instant Offices shows that almost half of UK employers (47%) admit to checking up on current employees via social media.
Additionally, 34% say that they have gone one step further and reprimanded or even fired an employee in the worst-case scenario due to the content they posted on their social media. 
As a result of this, Instant Offices have identified the pros and cons of adding co-workers on social media, along with advice on how to judge if it feels appropriate to add work colleagues. 
Critical social media faux pas that has caused potential employers to reject an employee before they even have a job include:

  • 40%: Provocative or inappropriate content
  • 36%: Drinking or drug use
  • 31%: Discriminatory comments
  • 30%: Criminal behaviour
  • 27%: Information that shows a candidate lied about their qualifications
  • 27%: Poor communication skills
  • 25%: Bad-mouthing a previous employer or co-worker

Should you add a co-worker on Facebook? – 4 considerations:

  1. What is your work culture like? Is it a casual environment? Is there a strong focus on relationships, and are teams encouraged to socialise? These are all factors that should guide you to your decision.
  2. Are you happy with the way you come across online? Look at the last 20 posts you’ve shared or liked. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the way they represent you – would you feel okay with a peer or a boss seeing them? 
  3. What do you have in common? It’s not unusual to form genuine friendships at work through shared interests – if you’re friendly with a colleague offline, adding them online will feel more natural and less awkward.
  4. Do you share work-related content on Facebook? If your Facebook feed is a good mix of private posts and content on professional topics, you might consider sending or accepting a workplace friend request.

It’s important to remember that not all social media platforms are the same or appropriate for workplace connections. You may feel more comfortable connecting with co-workers on Facebook or LinkedIn rather than TikTok or Instagram.

Chris Price

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