For some companies, rules completely restricting Internet access and social media in the office is a must. However, working for a global advertising agency, if you restrict our access to the Internet or social media at work, even for a moment, it’s comparable to removing an appendage.

In my role at HMA, I use social media nearly everyday. In fact, we’re encouraged to use social media and the Internet. We continually test out new networks or applications to find better solutions for our clients and streamline our processes. A lot of this encouragement has a great deal to do with trust. Drew and Amanda trust us to use these tools appropriately. In return, we balance our Internet and social media use by focusing and effectively accomplishing our work in a timely manner.

Here are some benefits our global agency reaps from social media use in the workplace:

Increases Job Productivity

Using social media and the Internet actually makes for more productive days at HMA. We’re able to reach out to people around the world and collaborate on projects in a way that would never have been possible. On a daily basis, we maintain conversations across the globe through social media with strategic partners and freelancers in countries like Brazil, Germany, Belgium, China, Japan, etc. Throw in Smartphones and iPads, and now it’s easier than ever to stay connected and engage with others.

Helps Find Instant Answers

If Google charged me for every search query I’ve entered to solve a problem at work, I’d be devastatingly poor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard my team utter “Thank goodness for Google.” Whether it’s Stack Exchange, Quora, posting questions on Twitter or just plain Googling it, the Internet has become an effective way for us to quickly find solutions.

Share Knowledge Globally

Not only does social media use help us accomplish tasks more efficiently, but our advertising agency gains a lot. Our employees network and elevate their personal brands by sharing interesting links, adverting-related or HMA blog posts, and interacting with their peers via social media. This in turn increases our company’s brand awareness, gives us additional social mentions and grows our global presence.

Truly, the deciding factors in regard to social media use in the workplace depend on industry and job role. Take both into consideration and decide what social networks is most appropriate to use. Upvoting every post in the Aww sub-Reddit probably won’t get you very far in growing your personal brand. Don’t forget to establish ground rules for yourself or your employees. Nobody wants a social media disaster looming over their head, or worse, to get fired for posting something stupid.

Does your position allow you to use social media or the Internet? Does it make you more or less productive? Or if you’re an manager, do you trust your employees to effectively use social media?