There\u2019s no denying that social media has become a part of our everyday lives, but what about social media in the workplace?\u00a0 Though it isn\u2019t part of the Bring-Your-Own-Device phenomenon, social media still plays heavily into the consumerization of IT.\n\tResearch shows that IT professionals are behind the curve when it comes to social media in the workplace.\u00a0 Though social media may seem like a scary door to unproductive employees, blocking it could be cutting yourself off from new business connections and informed consumers.\n\tSocial media is definitely on the rise in the workplace. Surprisingly, workers are not (for the most part) goofing off on social media sites.\u00a0 Rather, they are extending your business in a dynamic way.\u00a0\n\tUnisys recently released its Consumerization of IT Benchmark Study and found that iWorkers (or knowledge workers) use an average of four consumer devices in the course of their day as well as multiple third-party applications, including social networking sites.\u00a0 The study shows that workers are actively using social media at work and awareness of social media has also risen among businesses.\u00a0 Additionally, a quarter of iWorkers surveyed use blogs and professional online communities for business purposes.\u00a0\n\tOffice Arrow also recently released the findings of a study it conducted called The State of Social Media in Small Business. It finds that 88 percent of small businesses believe that social media does or will impact their business.\u00a0 Social media is rampant with employees and the businesses for which they work.\u00a0 So how do IT teams keep up?\n\tIT teams are statistically shown to not provide social media support for their employees.\u00a0 Robert Half Technology found through their research that 31 percent of organizations completely block social media sites.\u00a0 But the types of sites that are blocked actually go beyond social media sites.\u00a0\n\tThe Unisys Study finds that 44 percent of iWorkers can\u2019t access non-work related websites at all.\u00a0 While some companies won\u2019t let employees on social media sites at all, other employees are left to their own devices with no guidance.\u00a0 Forty percent of organizations surveyed by Unisys said they don\u2019t have guidelines for social media use in the workplace.\u00a0 Paul Gillin of Business2Community was shocked when he was at a major conference recently with around 300 senior IT executives\u2014and not one had tweeted anything about the conference. There seems to be a disconnect between IT professionals and the management and use of social media.\n\tBusinesses not connected to social media are turning their backs on potential partnerships and revenue.\u00a0 Knowledge workers use social networks to build relationships and conduct business.\u00a0 Business happens in online social networks.\u00a0 Isabella Mark, the director of Global Solution Management at Unisys, believes intelligent employees can be used to your advantage:\n\t\u201cCapitalizing on the sophistication employees have gained can help organizations reduce the security and privacy risks that can attend use of social media. There can be a bigger business risk if those companies don\u2019t take action \u2013 loss of value-creating ability and competitiveness.\u201d\n\tSocial media connects businesses with the informed consumer\u2014to not be a part of this is missing a critical opportunity.\n\tIf companies or IT professionals find themselves behind the curve of social media, consider hiring or outsourcing to a social media specialist who can encourage social media use in a responsible way as well as establish best practices regarding security.\u00a0 Your employees already know their way around social media.\u00a0 Now is the time to make sure everyone is on the same page with clear company guidelines. Then, open the floodgate and let the opportunities flow in.