03/26/2012 09:15 am ET

Being Facebook Friends With The Boss Can Be A Challenge: Survey Says

Should bosses and employees be friends on Facebook? With rules about personal and professional behavior blurring, it's a bit surprising that only 21 percent of respondents in a recent Russell Herder survey said they are Facebook friends with their work supervisors, compared to 74 percent who aren’t. Less surprising, however, is that younger workers aged 18-34 are more likely (26 percent) to be Facebook friends with the boss, compared to just 10 percent of those 35 or older. And while 44 percent of Facebook users age 55 and up think it's inappropriate to friend the boss, only 28 percent of those 18-34 agree.

Who started the relationship? Forty-six percent of those who are Facebook friends with their bosses initiated the friendship, while 38 percent say their bosses did. And here's where it gets awkward: 29 percent felt "pressured" to accept the boss's invitation.

Why it matters to your business: According to the survey, men are more likely than women to consider the Facebook relationship a "professional" as opposed to personal one. And what about legal issues? Could Facebook friendships between your employees expose you to sexual harassment charges? If you're at all worried about this, consider easing the awkwardness by creating a company Facebook page. That way, your employees can connect without feeling personally pressured.