Using social media affects our work performance (probably)

Hey! You’re not reading this when you should be working, are you? No, I didn’t think so. When you’re supposed to be working you’re probably on Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram or Pinterest, right? Let’s face it; most of us have looked at social media once or twice during work hours. (Not me of course, I would never.)

According to new research, that’s bad news. Psychologists from the University of Bergen in Norway have found that using personal social media accounts when we’re supposed to have our noses to the grindstone has a negative effect on our performance.

Their study, ‘Use of Social Network Sites at Work: Does it Impair Performance?’ is based on a survey of 11,018 Norwegian employees, of which 5,656 were men and 5,362 women, with an average age of 35.4, the majority with no managerial responsibilities.

The vast majority of their interviewees felt that their social media habits distracted them and affected their output. However, Cecilie Schou Andreassen and her colleagues didn’t have any objective way to measure this, nor did they run an experiment where workers abstained from social media and reported whether there was any difference in their level of focus and what they achieved…

But based on their interviews, they concluded that social media does have an impact on our work performance, but it might not be as much as we fear, and there isn’t enough information to gauge whether this has a significant impact on the economy or not.

There’s also the possibility that those mini breaks to help us stay connected to the outside world/watch the latest Aaron Sorkin parody give us the motivation to get back to work and give it our best. That’s what we should probably be telling ourselves, at least.

Image via Pixabay.

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Diane Shipley