Could Facebook and Twitter use hurt your organization’s productivity? Does your organization block these Social Media sites to keep this from happening? It seems that over half of all U.S. companies block these sites according to a recent DigitalMediaWire article. That’s not to say that an organization may be using an official Twitter or Facebook account, but they are blocking these sites for personal use during business hours. Some of these companies may have other valid reasons for blocking these sites, but there does appear to be a belief that filtering certain sites on the Internet will keep productivity high among employees. As a matter of fact, I was recently asked to play an advisory role for a large Fortune 500 company in Houston as they decided this very topic. I’ll tell you what they decided at the end of this article.
So does Social Media use actually hurt productivity? In the last 6 months I’ve read several articles and studies that say that the opposite is true, allowing time for staff to check their personal Twitter or Facebook account may actually increase productivity. This may seem counter intuitive, but keep this in mind; when the telephone and email were introduced to the work place, many people thought that productivity would surely decrease. A few years ago, Dr. Brent Coker of the University of Melbourne did a study and found that, “people who do use the Internet for fun at work – within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office – are more productive by about 9% than those who don’t.” This raises a point worth mentioning here; a responsible Social Media/Internet use policy should be in place to set reasonable boundaries, not only for time limits, but on what sites are viewed and how these sites are used. So a reasonable amount of time on the Internet, though it may temporarily take time away from work tasks, may actually help with the quantity and quality of work.
Productivity isn’t measure of how much time a person is working on a task, but how much of the task gets accomplished in a given amount of time. If a lumber jack doesn’t take time to “sharpen his axe”, he can keep swinging all he wants, but as his axe dulls, he will see less fallen trees. The person who takes time to keep his axe sharp will always out produce his well meaning lumberjack companion. In the same way productivity studies show that humans have a limited capacity to concentrate on a task before the quality and the quantity of their work is diminished.
It is my belief that people who waste time are going to regardless of Internet filters or policies. If a filter doesn’t allow Facebook or Twitter, a person can simply reach for their trusty smart phone and waste the day away. A filter or a policy can never take the place of solid management and/or a hard working employee. So should all companies open up Social Media for personal use during business hours? No. Some companies have many other valid reasons for blocking the use of Social Media or even the entire Internet while at work. The company I advised is in the process of finalizing their new Social Media and Internet use policy, but plans on opening Social Media sites up for personal use during business hours to the majority of its employees. They see this as a way to continue to attract great employees, and to keep its workforce happier and in turn more productive. Sure there were and are naysayers, but it appears that this is the way of the future. After all, email and the phone seem to be heading out the door in place of more interactive and connected Social Media communication tools.
Written by: Doran Woods
Are you using Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube) to connect with others as well as to get your message out? People have many differing views on Social Media; some ignore it, some dislike it, others embrace it while still others can become addicted to it. Heres the reality: whether we use it or not, many of our family members, friends, church members and customers do. They not only use Social Media, but their day to day lives are heavily influenced by it.
We shouldn’t think of Social Media as a replacement to our normal avenues of communication (though this is a topic we will discuss in the future). Think of it rather as an enhancement to what we are already doing. It is about relationships. It allows us to connect to people in our community and beyond with very little effort and typically zero financial obligation.
Many companies, churches, and small businesses are embracing Social Media, allowing them to get their message out without having to rely solely on traditional and usually very expensive means of mass communicating, ala TV commercials, newspaper ads, billboards, etc.
One-on-one contact has always been one of the most successful ways of getting our messages out, but typically communicating in this manner is very slow. Now with Social Media, a small post or quick video about an event, sermon series, mission opportunity can reach hundreds or even millions in minutes. Communicating via Social Media can be very personal as well, for instance, 1 and 5 married couples today meet online through Social Media. Think today how you might better serve your members by harnessing the power of Social Media.
Written by: Doran Woods
With the busiest months of hurricane season once again upon us, we keep our eyes on the tropics and say a quick prayer that nothing major will come our way. However, when it comes to protecting your church and its data, we’ve been blessed with technology that helps us do that. Though we cannot keep disaster from coming our way, there are steps we can take to help minimize damage when threatened with a hurricane, some of which are more simple than you might think.
- Make sure backups are running correctly and that copies are stored offsite.
- Keep servers at least 2-3 feet above the floor level.
- Make sure all servers are protected by backup batteries.
- Shut down all equipment in the proper order when preparing for the storm.
- Close all blinds and doors – both interior and exterior.
As part of ongoing support, Solerant engineers have prepared a Disaster Preparation Plan for each of our clients that will guide you through everything you need to know to prepare for a hurricane and how to resume church business once the storm has passed. Should you desire an additional level of preparation, Solerant can help you design a custom Disaster Recovery Plan or School Continuity Plan which will help your organization recover faster or continue operating with little interruption should a hurricane cause long-term damage.
Written by: Alton Fojtasek
There appear to be two recurring themes: first is that ALL studies show that multiple monitors increase productivity. The only thing in dispute is by how much. The second theme is that prices on ALL monitors continue to fall at a rapid pace. A Solerant client recently purchased a Dell 23″ LED Full HD Widescreen monitor for $220. Some of the pros and cons of using multiple monitors.
- Productivity increases by an average of 42%
- Multiple programs can be opened and viewed simultaneously
- Facilitates quick movement from program to program
- Sharing/moving data between applications is quicker
- Allows video teleconferencing (Skype, etc.) while keeping other data opened for referencing
- Sequential positioning of repetitive tasks can help streamline them
- Adding a second monitor, in most cases, is easy and affordable
- Requires/uses more desktop space
- The potential exists for a greater number of distractions
- Consumes more power than a single monitor
As with most things in life, moving from a single monitor to multiple monitors involves some trade-offs. From a practicality perspective, the benchmark to use comes down to your daily workflow. If your position involves working on a single task at a time, finishing it up and then moving on to the next task, then a single monitor serves you well. But if your position has you hopping in and out of multiple tasks repeatedly all day long, than you’re probably a candidate for a second monitor.
For those of you who are considering taking this article up to your church’s accounting office and using it as justification for getting a second monitor, remember this trade-off: They’ll be expecting at least a 42% increase in your productivity in return!
Written by: Stephen Posta