By Sandra Quinn

In the past year, 56% of Irish businesses have banned the use of social media in the workplace.

Research commissioned by Ricoh Ireland found that Facebook was banned in 47% of work environments, Twitter was not permitted in 36%, Instagram and Snapchat in 33% and WhatsApp in 30%.

One argument for this might be that employees were getting distracted from workflow and getting caught up in social media when they should have been working, but sometimes a much more serious issue is at play.

Most people use things like WhatsApp and Snapchat to chat with their friends and family and in the case of work, to let off steam or to talk to their co-workers.

Let’s imagine a scenario for a moment where someone is working within the education system and they are dealing with a delicate and sensitive matter involving a number of students and a case of severe bullying.

The stress is piling on and they start discussing the case using the apps above, outside of work and more importantly in an environment which the workplace have no control over.

Similarly, imagine a Snapchat taken at a hospital, someone tweeting out information from a complicated legal trial or commercially sensitive information about sales or revenue being sent across channels, which the employer is completely unaware of.

In order to combat this, Horizon Globex offers companies a customised communications app, which can be used in-house, in the same way as other aps with instant messaging, calls, GIF’s, emoji’s and more.

This is a way of keeping communication lines open without compromising on security, as only employees will have access to it, while also remaining on point with current instant messaging apps.

According to John Sylvester, of P&MM, a leading provider of employee and consumer engagement, the advancements in social media have led to more conversations about the importance of communication.

“Internal communication has been growing steadily in importance and sophistication, embracing the latest technologies, publishing trends and thinking around face-to-face communication.”

He added that engaging the employees through good communication channels means that morale will be improved, productivity will increase and there will be a better work environment in general.