A Matter of Trust

By Jack Cumming

There’s an irony in senior housing. Many providers want social media to promote their offerings, yet they block their employees from accessing social media through their work-related web access.

Now we understand why this is so. Employees should be diligent and dedicated to their work all day. Yet, we know that a social media break from concentrated work activity – writing, programming, billing, coding, or other mentally demanding tasks – can free the brain to be more productive. Unbroken confinement in a work cell degrades the spirit and diminishes the mind.

A Matter of Trust

The challenge is to trust employees not to abuse this diversion. Some will. Perhaps, they would be better suited to other employment. Their lack of engagement can be identified, queried, and then they can be assisted in leaving for something that they would like better.

But most employees want to serve their employers well and to give good value for what they are paid. Artificial constraints, signaling mistrust of employees, sends a wrong message in those cases.

Let’s say, though, that you’re an employee in an organization in which IT restricts access to certain websites. You may need this access to be effective in your work. After all, it’s important for marketing people to be conversant with the social media campaigns of competitors. They need to be prepared for questions from prospects.


Here’s what you can do to get access without having to ask permission from IT. IT may operate in a different political silo from yours. You don’t want to let their presumptions deter you from performing your job effectively.

The workaround is to use a Virtual Private Network to tunnel through corporate controls and gain access to the information that you need to perform your job. Here’s how I do it. I have an account that costs $99 a year from ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN opens the world beyond control.  It works for people in China who want access to YouTube, which is blocked by the Communist Party, and it works for people blocked by corporate from information they need for their jobs.

By way of full disclosure, I share that I’m a resident, but our internet is provided by our community, so I too occasionally find access blocked to sites that I need. Perhaps, it’s overzealous security software seeking to protect by overkill. It’s not necessarily corporate control. It’s often well-intended. But whatever the reason, if you need access to blocked sites, try the Virtual Private Network route to get what you need.

Expediency vs. Practicality

Do we recommend that you pursue such a workaround? Decidedly no. The courageous thing would be to pursue the needed permissions through the corporate structure. That’s a best practice. That’s ideal. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll be working on your appeal to IT even now as you read this.

Still, for the rest of us, who drive 80 miles per hour even though the highway is signed for 65, the pragmatic approach to getting your job done is to pursue the workaround and $99 a year seems like a small price to pay for freedom.

How much time should you spend on social media? If you’re the activities director, you should be sharing news of events regularly to show prospects what an active, happening community you’re engaged with. A daily post is probably the most that the market will accept. You may opt for weekly.


But for those with other corporate tasks, let your conscience be your guide. Just be sure that you are putting your employer’s interests first during the time which you have committed to your employment.

Good luck and good posting.