Does your day start with something like this?
You wake up, roll over to reach for your phone before even getting off the bed, flip through a few social media channels. Then, while having breakfast, you reply to a few chats and emails as you prepare for work. You do the same while in the elevator, or while waiting in line to get a coffee, at work, and again, on your way back home.
You get home and you are about to go to bed, what is the last thing you do? Check your phone.
Can you relate to this? You could deny it but research shows this is true for most people. Social media is now a basic part of our daily lives that it is now difficult to go a day without it.
The average person spends 2.3 hours per day on their phone, and nearly half of Americans consider themselves addicted to their cell phone. The bottom line is, social media does and can have an impact on work productivity. That is a primary reason why some companies block their employees from using social media networks at the workplace.
But how much of a deal is social media? The average employee spends 12% of the working day using social media applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Only 59% of the day is spent using applications that are considered productive. DeskTime analyzed this data, showing that about 65 hours is used unproductively every month.
Social Media Effects On the Brain
Addiction to Social Media is not news but it is getting serious. For anyone who doubts the negative impact of social media on our productivity, these statistics might make you change your mind:
- Studies show that the use of social media greatly reduces one’s attention span. In a test, heavy social media users found it more difficult to shift focus between tasks than those who used the platforms moderately.
- Social media can cause sleep deprivation that, in turn, depletes workplace productivity. Scrolling through socials before going to bed reduces the chances of a full night’s sleep.
- Social media promotes “inside-the-box” thinking. Multiple studies have linked the rise of “herd mentality” with the increasing use of social media. In short, that means that being confronted with different opinions, we are more inclined to accept the most popular one as truth, not considering other ideas or developing our view on a matter.
- Social media can cause mental health breakdowns. According to research, around 45% of adults feel restlessness when they are not able to access their social media sites. Being this restless about something can lead to shortages in attention span which can impede your work productivity.
How to Deal With Social Media Addiction in the Workplace
If you find yourself struggling with social media addiction at work, there is good news. Here are the most productive ways to get rid of this addiction once and for all.
- Understand Why and Deal with it: The first step to beating social media addiction in the workplace is understanding how you first got there. For a few minutes, think about the moments you mostly scroll through social media. It could be in the early hours of the morning when you just wake up, when you are feeling stressed or lonely, or when you are about to go to bed. When you have figured out what triggers your habit of feed scrolling, you can deal with it by coming up with counter plans. It could be a 5-minute stretch once you get out of bed. Switch off all devices and sit in silence. Or you could take a walk around the neighborhood for 5-10 minutes – none of these are as addictive as social media is.
- Get Someone or Something to Hold You Accountable: You could get a friend, colleague, or partner to keep tabs on your social media use. Creating a support system is an effective way to combat any bad habit. If you don’t have anyone to keep you in check, you could download digital detox apps like Moment. Using mobile screen time app limits tools on your phone could help keep your social media use in check.
- Exclude your phone from your morning Routine: Whether you are heading to the office from home or you work from home, eliminating social media from your morning activities will increase your daily work productivity. Putting your phone away when you wake up will increase your daily productivity. You could adopt early morning stretches to start your day. You could schedule hours to look through your social media feed daily.
To be sure, Social media has had a major positive impact on our society. However, if not wisely used, it can become a problem. By becoming one’s more aware of how much time you spend on Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms, you can go a long way toward moderating your social media use, in turn, increasing your productivity at work.