When social networks became a “thing” in the aught years of this century, many big companies frantically huddled with their legal departments to mandate etiquette for their employees. Mostly, these rules were meant as a muzzle—to restrict how people represented their employer, and to some extent their professional selves, in forums and other early social venues.
A decade later, roughly half of all businesses have rules of this nature in place, according to data published last week by the Pew Research Center. A vast majority of workers (77%) dabble cyber-socially while on the job. Their top two motivations? To take a mental break from their job or to catch up with friends and family. (The survey base included 2,002 U.S. adults.)
Gulp. Those findings would seem to confirm the secret, cynical fear of managers everywhere—that allowing access to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks might be negatively effecting productivity. “Yes it’s true,” the data whispers slyly, “eliminate that distraction lest your people stray.”
But here are the other three motivations (out of the top five) driving people to log on. All of which are quite work-related, if you think about it:
- To make and support professional connections. (Microsoft (MSFT) should be cheering this one after offering $26.2 billion to buy LinkedIn.)
- To gather information that solves a work problem
- To strengthen or build personal relationships with co-workers (That’s the sort of behavior that Facebook hopes to reinforce with its forthcoming social network for work.)
Here’s where managers come in. It turns out that employees of organizations that are more explicit and prescriptive about the ways that social networks can be useful are actually less likely to goof off on Facebook or LinkedIn while they should be working and more likely to think of it as a tool to do their job better. Guidance is good!
Don’t worry, the vast majority of your employees aren’t gawking at their friends’ feeds while they’re supposed to be working. Unfortunately, that also means they aren’t really exploiting the potential of social networks as a business tool. Barely one-fifth of the Pew survey respondents copped to actually using Facebook for worked-related purposes (even fewer for LinkedIn).
But more than half of them said they believed that social media would help their job performance, if they felt more comfortable using it in the workplace. It may pay to think about being less restrictive, provided there are rules in place. Plus, allowing employees to take a mental break a few times daily is probably not a bad idea either.
BITS AND BYTES
Intel mulls options for security division. The chipmaker is considering a plan to sell the portfolio it bought through its $7.7 billion takeover of antivirus software company McAfee about six years ago, reports the Financial Times. CEO Brian Krzanich has made focusing on the company on several core areas a strategic priority. Considering the high price tags some security software firms are commanding—$4.65 billion for Blue Coat as one example—it may not be a bad time to sell. (Financial Times)
Expect initial Line IPO pricing details this week. The Japanese messaging company originally wanted to go public two years ago, but it pulled back to get its financial house in order. Line could raise around $1 billion, which will likely make it the biggest tech IPO this year. It was supposed to price the offering today, but pushed back the timing because of market turmoil associated with the Brexit situation. (Bloomberg, Reuters)
The next DocuSign CEO will have tough job. The electronic signature and document management startup, valued at $3 billion, has had a lame-duck CEO for almost nine months. It almost hired former Motorola exec Rick Osterloh early this year, but Bloomberg reports he decided to take a job at Alphabet instead. The current short list includes former Symantec CEO Enrique Salem, according to the news service. What is giving candidates pause? DocuSign is under enormous pressure go public—and to become profitable within on year of that blessed event. (Bloomberg)
Beware the insider. Almost 70% of companies have experienced an actual or attempted data theft by their own employees during the past 12 months, according to data to be published this week by Accenture. (Bloomberg)
Fintech-focused messaging service gains influential supporter. Asset manager BlackRock has moved internal communications for its employees to a secure app from Symphony Communications Services, reports The Wall Street Journal. Now it’s trying to convince its clients and business partners to use the system, too, as an alternative to Bloomberg terminals. (Wall Street Journal)
Nikesh Arora interview: Always know when to exit. Nikesh Arora shocked the business world two years ago when he jumped from his role as Google’s chief business officer to SoftBank, the idiosyncratic Japanese telecom company.
There he was quickly elevated to second-in-command, in line to take the CEO role when founder and CEO Masayoshi Son stepped down sometime in his 60s.
But that suddenly changed last week, when “Masa” changed his timeline and Arora resigned. He cited the fact that Son decided to stay in the CEO role for another five to 10 years as his reason. Fortune spoke with Arora about the news, SoftBank’s recent string of asset sales, and what he learned working with Son. (Fortune)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Why Brexit is bad for tech companies in the U.K. (and everywhere else) by David Z. Morris
Silicon Valley’s new parlor game? The ‘last job’ by Roy Bahat
Here’s the hardware that Apple is discontinuing by Don Reisinger
What’s the fix for racism in sharing economy? by Ellen McGirt
Edward Snowden denounces Russia’s new ‘big brother’ surveillance law by David Z. Morris
Apple, Home Depot turn to Bloom Energy as its technology advances
by Katie Fehrenbacher
Major ad-blocker suffers defeat over business model by David Meyer
ONE MORE THING
These are the five hottest startups in fintech. Recent research suggests revenue for financial technology startups will leap to $100 billion in the next four years. (Fortune)
This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.