South Africans are saying ‘no’ to boss and co-worker friend requests over fears of hurting their careers

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New research from Kaspersky shows that South Africans are keen to keep their work and private lives separate, with 64% of South African consumers choosing to hide social media activity from their boss.

This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers, Kaspersky said.

“Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime,” the cybersecurity and anti-virus provider said.

“Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.”

Kaspersky found that more than a third (35%) of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit.

“However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities, Kaspersky said.

This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable, it said.

Harmful to future job prospects

Kaspersky said that this aversion to connecting on social media is likely because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that.

Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss, while more than half (53%) don’t want to even disclose this information to their colleagues, it said.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer.

In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad, said Marina Titova, head of consumer product marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

“That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future.”

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