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Social workplaces

india Updated: Dec 11, 2011 22:18 IST
Himani Chandna Gurtoo

Unofficial e-mail and social networking websites have been a strict no-no at most workplaces in India so far. That seems to be changing now as more companies are opening up to the idea being fine. While companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Google have been flexible and open about these sites, Indian companies are also easing up.

“It is unfortunate to treat employees as kids when it comes to social media access. We have not blocked such sites in our office premises. We trust our employees and give them the freedom so they automatically feel a sense of responsibility towards the organisation,” said Ashutosh Tiwari, executive VP, Godrej.

These fun sites have already established themselves as important tools for many companies to extend their brand and generate clients. “In fact, I accept the friend requests from my staff. Allowing them in offices creates good relations and a positive environment,” said Harkirat Singh, MD, Woodland. “People today have access to mobile-based web. So, if the information has to go out, it will. This is an archaic way of thinking.”

Among IT companies, Wipro has allowed complete access to Twitter. “Facebook too will happen once we ensure that it will not harm the company brand or its clients,” Ramesh Nagaranjan, CIO, Wipro Technologies, said. Wipro has set up internet hubs for employees to use during breaks. “A lot of our employees work out of restricted development centers where, to protect client data, we block all external sites and emails. However, there are easily accessible internet hubs where the employee can go during in his free time and access social networks, essentially take a break away from work and rejuvenate.”

The ability to attract passive candidates and generating referrals of prospective employees are some of the other advantages firms get from utilising these networks, that too at a very low implementation and maintenance costs. “If working early mornings and late nights is valid, working on holidays is valid then the addition of recreation in the form of social networking is equally valid,” advocated Sandip Biswas, director, Deloitte, a consultancy firm.