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It is no longer practical to ignore the increase of usage of smart devices and social media in the workplace. Blackberries, iPhones, iPods, and social networking sites likes Facebook are part of day-to-day business transactions. At the same time, these technologies also compete for your employees’ attention. Striking a balance between flexibility and productivity is the key to establishing parameters. Managing the amount of time and effort spent with these technology platforms – beyond the daily work-front – is important to workplace productivity. The experts at Circa offer some advice.

The fuzzy border between work and productivity has increasingly become a hot topic within companies. Do we bar everything, or do we bar nothing? Most importantly, how do you keep your employees productive while allowing them some freedom?

Our advice is that no two companies should have a similar policy. For instance a company who subcontracts for the government would most likely not want its employees on Facebook all day, regardless of the content. It may be too high of a risk. But if you are a company who thrives on sales, getting your employees out in full force on all social sites is your best bet to attracting public attention – and sales.

The best way to tackle these issues is to compose a policy that has been dictated by management and legal entities within your company. With social media comes transparency, an issue that if not managed can impact access to corporate information. But simply ignoring and barring social media sites and electronic devices from your company would be pointless.

Launch a company-wide webinar instructing on correct and inappropriate productivity and practices. For instance, inappropriate productivity begins with Facebook statuses and Tweets about private company information that should not be disclosed. While correct productivity includes developing company-sponsored channels that are monitored for proper content and involve the engagement of diverse candidates promoting great things your company is doing.

The key here is transparency, but with checks and balances. A “Wild, Wild West” climate will inevitably lead to poor choices, terminations, and the possible abandonment of this new media.

If you have the right policing in place, this will also serve to help with your recruiting practices in general, as candidates will get a rare peek into your company culture. Social media is a great mouthpiece for philanthropy within the organization, public projects, new products, and other campaigns. It should not be disregarded as a trend that will fall off the map, because obviously it is going nowhere anytime soon.

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