When it comes to Facebook, most employees would rather not mix business with pleasure.
A new study from the staffing service OfficeTeam revealed that more than three-quarters of workers are uncomfortable being friended by a client or vendor on the social networking giant.
It's not just those people outside of the office that employees would prefer to avoid on Facebook. More than 60 percent of those surveyed don't want to be Facebook friends with a boss or someone they manage, while nearly half of employees aren't interested in having a personal relationship with their co-workers on social networks.
Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, said people have different comfort levels when it comes to social media, so it's best not to blanket colleagues with friend requests.
"Although some people are hesitant to reach out to business contacts via social networks, there can be a benefit to doing so — if you approach it the right way."
OfficeTeam offers five tips to help employees determine if they should connect with co-workers on Facebook:
- Follow the leader: Employees should let their boss or those more senior than them make the first move. Proactively sending a friend request could create an awkward situation.
- Scope it out: Check out whether colleagues have other employees in their networks before asking them to connect.If their lists are limited to favorite work pals, they may not be eager to friend a wider group of co-workers.
- Ask first: When in doubt, ask individuals whether they would be interested in connecting on social media before sending an invite.
- Do a self-check: Employees must review their profile and make sure there isn't anything posted that could damage their professional image. They may prefer that colleagues not see spring break photos, game updates or quiz results.
- Don't give in to peer pressure: Employees aren't obligated to share social media updates with everyone in the office. If they're concerned about slighting people by turning down invites, they should accept friend requests but use privacy settings and lists to control who can view certain content.
The study was based on surveys of 1,000 senior managers are companies with 20 or more employees.