Should you Add Your Co-Worker as a Friend on Facebook?

Your co-worker has invited you to be a friend on Facebook.  What do you do?  Before you confirm the request, consider the implications:

You can’t un-friend them later.  Once you add a co-worker as a friend, you can’t undo it.  Of course, you are able to delete them, but it will likely hurt their feelings, and may cause a conflict that you would rather avoid.  

They will know when you are on Facebook.  Do you sometimes sneak onto Facebook when you should be working, or when you’ve taken a sick day?  Don’t forget that your Facebook friends know when you are online, and can see when you’ve posted something.  Depending on how strict your workplace is, this may not be a big deal.  However, you should keep it in mind if you are posting during the work day.

You should friend everybody or nobody.  If you accept one co-worker’s friend request, you should accept everyone’s request.  If you leave people out, you will damage relationships.  If there are people that you aren’t comfortable accepting as a friend, then it would be best to keep all of your co-workers off your Facebook page.

You need to be very careful if you are looking for another position.  If your friends and family know that you are looking for a new job, then you need to be even more vigilant about monitoring your Facebook profile.  Many people don’t think before they post, and someone may post a dangerous comment on your Facebook wall like, “How was the interview this morning?” You can tell your friends and family to be discreet, but it is best to monitor it yourself.

You can’t post about your work problems.  Many people have found themselves out of a job after venting their work frustrations on Facebook.  It is never appropriate to publicly criticize your manager, your co-workers or a customer.  When you’re angry at work, it may be best to stay off Facebook.

You need to be aware of the image that you are presenting online.  While you probably won’t get fired for posting a picture of yourself passed out after a night of drinking, it can still damage your career prospects.  Imagine your manager considering you for a new management role.  Now imagine your manager considering you for the management role while she is looking at a picture of you dancing with a lamp shade on your head.

After all of this, you may decide that you want to keep your work colleagues off Facebook.  If you make that decision, you can either let your co-workers know that you barely go on Facebook (so that they will understand why you don’t respond to their requests), or you can tell them that you don’t add anyone associated to work.  Most people will understand, and some may decide to follow your lead.  If you do decide to add your co-workers as friends, remember that they are watching and behave accordingly.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From:  Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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