Friend request denied: Most people don't want to connect with colleagues on Facebook

Published 21 August 2013  |  
PA

We may spend a lot of time with our colleagues but that doesn't mean we want to be friends with them on Facebook, a new survey suggests.

A majority of workers (71%) said they were uncomfortable being friended by their bosses on the social networking site, while two thirds said they were uncomfortable being friended by colleagues under their supervision.

Half said they were uncomfortable connecting with colleagues on the same tier, and just under two thirds (63%) would rather not be friended by clients.

The study was based on interviews with 342 senior managers at companies in Canada.

"People have different comfort levels when it comes to social media, so it's best not to blanket colleagues with friend requests," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam.

"Along with being selective about who you ask to connect with online, you should always post prudently. You don't want to share information that could reflect poorly on you."

Hosking added, "Although some people are hesitant to reach out to business contacts via social networks, there can be a benefit to doing so - if you approach it the right way."

OfficeTeam offers five tips for determining if you should connect with coworkers on Facebook:

Follow the leader
Let your boss or those more senior than you make the first move. Proactively sending a friend request could create an awkward situation.

Scope it out
Check out whether colleagues have other employees in their networks before asking them to connect. If their lists are limited to favourite work pals, they may not be eager to friend a wider group of coworkers.

Ask first
When in doubt, ask individuals whether they would be interested in connecting on social media before sending an invite.

Do a self-check
Review your profile and make sure there isn't anything posted that could damage your professional image. You may prefer that your colleagues not see your spring break photos, game updates or quiz results.

Don't give in to peer pressure
You aren't obligated to share social media updates with everyone in the office. If you're concerned about slighting people by turning down invites, you can accept friend requests but use privacy settings and lists to control who can view certain content.

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