Social Media Policies: Not Just for the Office

Do you need a social media policy for your nanny? What your household staff shares online may give cybercriminals a lot to like.

Photo by The Good Brigade

For many, social media has become an integral part of daily life – both in and out of work. While using social media may be necessary in some jobs, one in 10 workers spends more time on the Internet than working. It can also be a distraction; social media interruptions occur on average every 10.5 minutes.

It can be tempting to simply ignore staff’s social media usage, but experts advise against it. I consulted with Jack McCalmon, President of The McCalmon Group, who offered these suggestions about how to manage your household employees’ social media use.

First, talk to staff about the statistics related to lost productivity from social media use at work, and encourage them to limit or avoid social media use while at work.

In addition, train family management to watch for staff spending excessive amounts of time online. Have a policy of meeting with those staff members who experience a dip in productivity from online usage, and explain to them that continued decreased productivity may lead to disciplinary action and removal of Internet access or device use while at work.

Family employers have the additional risk of smartphone staff posting information about them or their family on social media. Kidnappers and cybercriminals may seek information about your family through social media, so a staff person posting your whereabouts could endanger your safety. To reduce this risk, create a social media policy concerning posts about you and your family.

Photo by Cavan Images

When creating your social media policy, consider these recommendations:

  • Encourage staff to avoid posting anything related to you or your family on social media, including posting images of children. This may include asking them not to use your name or post personal information that could put your family at risk if accessed by criminals. Train staff on your policy during new hire orientation and occasionally remind current staff of the policy.
  • Remind staff that information posted on social media sites can be seen by anyone and talk to them about the risks of posting sensitive information online.
  • Educate staff on the importance of avoiding personal comments about the family on social media. Ask staff to talk to you about any personal concerns they may have, rather than posting about them on the Internet.
  • Train staff to never post about upcoming vacations, especially specific details such as the dates of travel.
  • Prohibit staff from using social media to “check-in” to a location when accompanying members of your family, as such information notifies criminals that you are not home.
  • Ask staff to opt out of Facebook and Twitter functions that automatically tag their posts with a location.
  • Encourage staff and family members to regularly check their privacy settings on Facebook and other sites to ensure that only acquaintances receive their updates.

Maria Cordeiro is Assistant Vice President and Client Services Manager at Chubb Personal Risk Services.

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