How does social media affect the workforce?

October 30 2017
How does social media affect the workforce?

It’s hard to escape social media in 2017, and it is no longer restricted to the realm of teenagers uploading selfies. Journalists use Twitter to break news, models promote brands on Instagram and companies are increasingly scanning LinkedIn to fill vacancies. The various issues associated with social networking on society – online bullying, depression, body image – have been well documented but what about the impact on the workforce?

Wasting time

One of the major problems it can have on employees is time wasting. Research revealed that using social media ranked as the fourth highest source of distraction (38 per cent), behind browsing the internet (39 per cent), gossiping (42 per cent) and texting or making calls from a mobile phone (50 per cent).

A separate survey found that despite a regular day of eight hours, on average only two hours and 53 minutes are spent performing work tasks. Thus raising the question – would a shorter working day result in less time spent on social networking?

The ’80-20 Principle’ contends that 80 per cent of work is completed in 20 per cent of the time. This approach is favoured to suit the shorter working day, with a perception that employees will achieve just as much productivity in six hours as they would in eight. The counterargument for such a measure is that once employees adjust to their new hours, they will revert back to old habits, continuing to waste time despite there being less time to get work done.

Social media is a huge part of digital marketing

If you googled a business five years ago, a significant amount wouldn’t have had social media profiles. In 2017, it seems almost mandatory for a business to not only be active across multiple social networking platforms but to employ a specialist in this area as companies battle for a competitive advantage.

Some businesses are better suited to this technological shift: the ability to upload photos of beautifully curated dishes means restaurants, bars and cafes have benefited greatly from social media. They are not alone, as the advent of the Instagram celebrity has seen diverse types of organisations, from supplement producers to fashion labels, garner likes and followers by paying people to advertise their brands.