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Study finds social media saps productivity

Posted: 1 Aug 2017

These days, it seems there's no limit to the distractions on offer around us. Whether it's our hectic schedules, social media sites that never sleep or one of the multitudes of screens staring at us from every direction, there is always something to see, do or procrastinate with.

It is expected, then, that such distractions are impacting our output at work. Unsurprisingly, social media was named as the main offender in recent research by Fleximize into workers' habits – 84% of respondents owned up to losing at least 30 minutes a day to their social feeds.

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp was deemed to be the most distracting, with 72% of workers discovered to be chatting away on the app. Facebook was cited by 70% of workers, meanwhile Instagram was the time-wasting vice of 49%, Twitter by 41% and Snapchat squeezed in with some 30% losing invaluable productivity to it.

However, social media is not the only transgression. According to the survey of 2,000 people, the average UK worker has accumulated a number of bad workplace behaviours. Not only are their attention spans getting sucked into social media, but they also aren't taking regular breaks or even leaving the office.

It seems a scroll through social media is replacing a stroll outside the office; six in 10 (63%) confessed to scoffing their breakfast and lunch at the comfort of their desk at least twice a week. A further 20% admitted they did so every day, while 65% stated that they do not normally leave the office at lunch at all. Add that to the 71% of respondents who were found to do up to four hours of overtime per week and we can begin to see a picture of presenteeism emerging.

Peter Tuvey, co-founder and managing partner of Fleximize, noted the irony of social media being both a powerful driver of business and a major distraction for workers. However, he encourages managers to adopt a 'if you can't beat them, join them' attitude as it presents an "opportunity to harness the 'always on' mentality of Millennials."

He explains: "For example, companies could encourage all staff to gear their social media habits towards business goals, whether that's seeking out and sharing relevant news stories or keeping an eye on the activity of competitors."

If you think productivity is being sapped by social media in your office, why not review your policy and see how it can be used to drive business objectives instead?

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