Is it 3:00 p.m.?
Are you at your desk, trying to make progress on that looming deadline?
But you say you’ll just take five minutes to check your Facebook or LinkedIn page?
You’re not alone.
The practice of wasting time at work is a longstanding tradition dating back to the invention of the cubicle. But with the help of social media, it’s easier than ever. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are specifically designed to make you dependent and addicted. The result is that more employees than ever are experiencing decreased attention span, difficulty focusing on a task, declining work performance, and depression.
Studies show that the average person spends nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media every day, which translates to a total of five years and four months spent over a lifetime. That’s more than most people spend eating and drinking, socializing, and grooming in a lifetime, and enough time in which to fly to the moon and back 32 times. A recent Nielsen report shows that the demographic of Americans ages 35 to 49 are the worst offenders.
Is Social Media Addiction Real?
Social networking addiction refers to the use of social media to the extent that it interferes with other aspects of daily living, including work. Researchers at The University of Chicago recorded the cravings of several hundred people for several weeks and concluded that in some cases social media addiction was stronger than addiction to cigarettes and alcohol. A study at Harvard University attributes the highly addictive nature of social media to the fact that self-disclosure communication, upon which social media is based, stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers much like food and sex do.
Individuals who use social media very frequently have over twice the likelihood of depression than those who use it less frequently or not at all. Worse yet, social media addiction can actually get you fired. Twenty-eight percent of employers report that they’ve fired people for using the Internet for non-work-related activity during the workday and 18% have dismissed employees because of something they posted on social media, according to CareerBuilder.
How to Beat the Social Media Addiction
The best way to ensure you don’t waste valuable work time or even get fired for your social media addiction is to save social media use for after work. Make a commitment to not checking social media during work hours. If that doesn’t work, try scheduling a couple of 15-minute periods during the day where you allow yourself to use it, but be sure to stick to your schedule. Setting aside specific time will help you to stay focused when you’re not on a break. You can also delete apps on your phone to make accessing social media more difficult. You’re less likely to access these platforms if you need to enter a username and password each time rather than simply touching the app icon on your phone. If all else fails, and your addiction is strong, there is software available which enables you to temporarily block the Internet (e.g., selfcontrolapp.com). Ultimately, you will find that disconnecting will allow you to be a more productive and fulfilled employee.
Check the Manual.
Let’s be honest here. Getting fired because you can’t resist Instagramming your breakfast bagel is pretty stupid. Before setting up parameters to box-in or manage your addiction, find out what your company’s social media policy is. Some companies say no cell phone usage while on the clock. Others may forbid employees from visiting social media sites or checking personal email on company computers. Don’t think you’re fooling anyone by closing your browser when the boss walks by. Many employers track computer usage and know which sites you visit when. Don’t take chances with your paycheck. Put your phone in your desk drawer or lock it in your car until you’re on a break.
Looking to Make A Career Change?
Feeling bored in your current position? If you find yourself going through the motions at work, perhaps it’s time to make a career change. At Partnership Employment, we have a long history of matching top-level talent with exceptional opportunities. Contact us today to see which exciting opportunities await you!