You had to communicate with your employer after work hours on WhatsApp: Will you soon be paid? (Photo: ShutterStock)
WhatsApp has become a widely available means of communication in recent years, with 100 billion messages sent by 2 billion people worldwide every day. In Israel as well, WhatsApp seems to serve as a tool through which organizations choose to communicate with their employees.
Some of us have heard about the dangers of corporate use of WhatsApp – sending inappropriate photos, leaking sensitive information, security breaches, and more – but now, new data shows what we all always thought but were afraid to tell our employers: "Get out of WhatsApp."
Connecteam, which develops a mobile device platform for managing and communicating with employees, publishes a survey conducted by the Shiluv Institute in cooperation with iPanel. The survey examined how WhatsApp is used at work among a sample of 205 Israelis working in medium and large companies (50 employees or more) who use corporate WhatsApp groups.
The app that made us available 24/7 also made us more available than ever to the workplace (Photo: ShutterStock)
Ban WhatsApp outside of work hours?
The survey shows that the use of WhatsApp harms the delicate balance between home and work: 3 out of 5 respondents reported that they worked in their private time involuntarily; 63% of respondents believe that the employer should pay them for this time, and 54% expect the state to enact a law that prohibits an employer from requiring employees to answer WhatsApp when they are not at work, similar to other countries in the world.
It should be noted that in most workplace WhatsApp groups there is a mix between work areas and social areas between colleagues, according to the survey, which may cause many employees to continue working beyond their defined hours. It also emerged that 56% of respondents prefer to separate corporate WhatsApp groups from privacy.
Well, 1 in 5 have been exposed to or heard about exposure to offensive content on corporate WhatsApp: To the question of whether there are organized procedures for using WhatsApp in the workplace, half of the respondents responded that there are no organizational procedures that determine what kind of information can be shared in the organizational WhatsApp groups, and there is no official definition of the accepted communication method in those groups. Moreover, one in five respondents reported that they had been exposed to or heard about exposure to offensive or inappropriate content on corporate WhatsApp.
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What about inappropriate messages from the workplace? (Photo: ShutterStock)
Danger to employers as well
An issue that arises in every workplace is when and how to exclude a former employee from the joint groups. A quarter of respondents said they were still members of their former workplace's WhatsApp groups; Among the younger generation, the rate reaches almost a third. This means that these employees are still exposed to the company's business information, even when they have moved to a competing company.
Amir Nehemia, co-founder and CEO of Connecteam: "Companies invest capital in advanced information security systems, but leave the door open to the 'Wild West' on WhatsApp – until the first lawsuit arrives. This is equivalent to a security breach discovered in the company's computers that will lead to information leakage." According to him, "Former employees who remain in designated groups for the company pose a significant risk if they move to a competing company. For example, in a retail company, the COO moved to competitors and stayed for four months in the management group of the previous company. He continued to receive information about daily box office closures, future promotions, and launches."
Nehemia notes that "the courts have already ruled that an organization cannot shirk responsibility for using WhatsApp for work purposes – if the managers both talk on WhatsApp with employees and are in groups, it is an organizational system in every respect, with all the obligations and implications – and therefore what happens in these groups may expose the employer to lawsuits in the fields of labor law, discrimination, and more, as we have already seen in Israeli case law."
In conclusion, Nehemia says: "I understand CEOs, information security professionals and legal advisors of companies who ignore the use of WhatsApp - it is a convenient and available tool. Unfortunately, the awakening comes after the first lawsuit. There is no awareness of the number of lawsuits due to the use of WhatsApp."
Amir Nehemia, co-founder and CEO of Connecteam (Photo: Gil Hayon)
About the Survey Editor, Connectim
Connected, founded in 2016 by Amir Nehemia, Daniel Nuriel and Yonatan Nuriel, provides companies whose employees do not have access to a computer with a simple smartphone application for managing employees. In one easy-to-implement system, Connecteam offers corporate chat, a location-based attendance clock, trainings, and more. Connect serves half a million users in 36,200 companies around the world, and in Israel it is already embedded in about <> large organizations, such as: Tnuva, SodaStream, Coca-Cola, Afikim, Isrotel, Fox Group, and more.
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