Do you ‘friend’ your co-workers? Many do, but the pros at OfficeTeam want you to keep a few things in mind.
“While the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur, not everyone’s comfortable connecting with colleagues on digital channels,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Before friending or following someone, check if that individual has other coworkers in their networks. When in doubt, let fellow employees make the first move online.”
Britton added, “Interacting with colleagues on social media can help build stronger relationships. But it should be done with care — you might not want to share everything with work friends that you would with closer personal contacts.”
OfficeTeam offers these do’s and don’ts when connecting with coworkers on social media, along with advice for what to do instead:
If a colleague’s connections are limited to a few office buddies, sending an invite could be overstepping your boundaries.
Explain that you prefer to keep your account limited to personal use and suggest connecting on a professional networking site like LinkedIn. In some cases, it may be best to accept the offer so you don’t offend the person.
Adjust privacy settings to control what information he or she has access to.
Use your best judgment when sharing.
Not everyone needs to know what you did last night, and certain topics can come across as unprofessional. Remove questionable images from your profiles.
Pay it forward by helping your online contacts and show support for their personal interests. You may discover things in common you can bond over.
Add everyone you work with to your social networks.
Reject a coworker’s friend request.
Post updates or photos that reveal too much.
Interact with people in your network only when you need something.
Overall, be careful. Remember, prompting a co-worker to “unfriend” you can cost you more than just social media embarrassment. It could hurt your professional reputation and career.