More than seven in 10 professionals (71 percent) polled by staffing firm OfficeTeam said it's appropriate to connect with colleagues on Facebook. Slightly fewer feel it's OK to follow coworkers on Twitter (61 percent), Instagram (56 percent) and Snapchat (44 percent). In contrast, less than half of senior managers interviewed think it's fine to engage with fellow employees on Facebook (49 percent), Twitter (34 percent), Instagram (30 percent) and Snapchat (26 percent).
According to the worker survey, male employees and those ages 18 to 34 find it more acceptable to connect with colleagues on social media than their counterparts.
View an infographic of the research and data tables with breakdowns of the results by gender and age.
"While the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur, not everyone's comfortable connecting with colleagues on digital channels," said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. "Before friending or following someone, check if that individual has other coworkers in their networks. When in doubt, let fellow employees make the first move online."
Britton added, "Interacting with colleagues on social media can help build stronger relationships. But it should be done with care — you might not want to share everything with work friends that you would with closer personal contacts."
OfficeTeam offers the following don'ts when connecting with coworkers on social media, along with advice for what to do instead:
DON'T: Add everyone you work with to your social networks
DO THIS INSTEAD: Be selective. If a colleague's connections are limited to a few office buddies, sending an invite could be overstepping your boundaries.
DON'T: Reject a coworker's friend request
DO THIS INSTEAD: Explain that you prefer to keep your account limited to personal use and suggest connecting on a professional networking site like LinkedIn. In some cases, it may be best to accept the offer so you don't offend the person. Adjust privacy settings to control what information he or she has access to.
DON'T: Post updates or photos that reveal too much
Do This Instead: Use your best judgment when sharing. Not everyone needs to know what you did last night, and certain topics can come across as unprofessional. Remove questionable images from your profiles.
DON'T: Interact with people in your network only when you need something
DO THIS INSTEAD: Pay it forward by helping your online contacts and show support for their personal interests. You may discover things in common you can bond over.
About the Research
The surveys of workers and senior managers were developed by OfficeTeam. They were conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and more than 300 senior managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation's leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit roberthalf.com/officeteam. Follow the OfficeTeam blog at roberthalf.com/officeteam/blog for career and management advice.