The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: “Social media is taking over”

Question: “One of our mangers is spending too much time on Facebook and Twitter. I’m worried about the impact on the business so how do I address it with him?” Mark

Answer: A 2010 survey estimated that businesses lose £14b UK-wide due to misuse of social media so it’s undoubtedly a real issue.

Be careful first that you’re not projecting your own resistance to social media here, or perhaps feeling excluded from conversation, or of being left behind as the world moves on. If so address any of your issues first. Then precisely identify the negative impact on the business, if any, should your manager continue with his behaviour.

How are you measuring productivity: time at the desk or completion of tasks? If he’s not completing his tasks and roles effectively and efficiently then that’s a good reason to tackle him about it. Remember there is a positive aspect to social media when used strategically so talk about what he’s using it for and ensure that’s the most appropriate way of communicating. Beware of over reliance on it though as that could be a sign that there’s a deeper underlying problem both personally and professionally which requires more specialist attention: an expert in its use told me recently that 15 mins per day should be sufficient to do all that’s needed.

Finally you should be aware of social media usage throughout the business. It needs managing just as any other type of workplace behaviour. Check out the ACAS website for their guidelines on introducing and managing a social media policy so that everyone knows what is, and is not appropriate usage.


Laura Murphy is the founder of mtc2 ltd, a management consultancy, training and coaching company.  Laura is an organisation development specialist and business coach.  If you have a problem then contact her at

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Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality