Thanks to the internet and social media, we can barely keep anything a secret anymore. There are even websites and online services now that can review deleted items and posts  thanks to the way data storage works. While this is useful for legal work, the term “What happens on the internet, stays on the internet”, is more true than ever.

A typical worker is likely to spend most of their time in the office online. Communication is key in today’s business ecosystem after all; and the internet has provided us with a means of convenient and rapid communication. As such, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day, especially since social media is just a click away.

We often view our social media as our own little playground. A place to vent and share, as is our right to. However, with huge controversies regarding data and privacy breaches making headlines in recent times, many are becoming painfully aware of how hard it actually is to keep things private.

A recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that one-in-two (approx. 59 per cent) consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. Some 54 per cent even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

The most likely reason for this is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company. There is a certain fear of companies making decisions about an employee based on their conduct on their personal social media. Especially so now when private social media security is under scrutiny.

A further 34 per cent are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 5 per cent even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked.

“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 or bad. 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”, said Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab, Marina Titova.

“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”, she added.

Here are a few pointers that may help you avoid any unwanted issues that posting on social media might cause at work:

  • When in doubt, do not post anything. Posts that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libelous may end you up in hot water.
  • Even when you are assured privacy by social media services, be aware that at least system administrators would likely be aware of your activities on their platform.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer online.
  • Avoid posting information or photographs of other employees, clients, customers, etc., without their express permission or consent.