How does social media affect the workforce?

It’s hard to escape social media in 2017, and it is nolonger restricted to the realm of teenagers uploading selfies. Journalists useTwitter to break news, models promote brands on Instagram and companies areincreasingly scanning LinkedIn to fill vacancies. The various issues associatedwith 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 timewasting. Research revealed that using social media ranked as the fourth highestsource of distraction (38 per cent), behind browsing the internet (39 percent), 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. Thusraising the question – would a shorter working day result in less time spent onsocial networking?

The ’80-20 Principle’ contends that 80 per cent of work iscompleted 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 productivityin six hours as they would in eight. The counterargument for such a measure isthat once employees adjust to their new hours, they will revert back to oldhabits, continuing to waste time despite there being less time to get workdone.

Social media is a huge part of digital marketing

If you googled a business five years ago, a significantamount wouldn’t have had social media profiles. In 2017, it seems almostmandatory for a business to not only be active across multiple socialnetworking platforms but to employ a specialist in this area as companiesbattle for a competitive advantage.

Some businesses are better suited to this technologicalshift: the ability to upload photos of beautifully curated dishes meansrestaurants, bars and cafes have benefited greatly from social media. They arenot alone, as the advent of the Instagram celebrity has seen diverse types oforganisations, from supplement producers to fashion labels, garner likes andfollowers by paying people to advertise their brands. 

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