Thought Leadership and Opinions By Jul 11, 2023 1 Comment

I strongly agree with those who express concern about the widespread addiction and misuse of social media, especially among young people and workers. It is evident that employees, on average, spend more than an hour casually browsing social media platforms while they are supposed to be working. According to available statistics, people spend an average of four hours per day on social media. It is worth noting that employees spend between 12% and 32% of their working hours on social media, depending on their tasks and location. This raises the question of how any business can achieve the desired level of productivity when employees waste a significant portion of their working hours scrolling through platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook.

In some multinational companies, employees are required to deposit their phones in a designated box or area away from their desks during work hours and can only access them during lunchtime. In other organizations, a device called a Wi-Fi jammer is used to block all cellphone networks except for the designated office lines, aiming to help employees focus on their primary responsibilities at work. While this may seem strict to some, can the employer be blamed for wanting to minimize all distractions in order to maximize productivity? When you call a family member or friend who works abroad, they are often cautious about not being able to talk for long because they are at work.

I have observed that many successful business leaders rarely use social media, whereas a significant majority of Ghanaians spend their entire day posting, sharing, liking, and commenting on matters that contribute very little to their overall development.

During the Congressional hearing on March 23, 2023, when Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, was asked if his children, aged eight and six, had TikTok accounts, he categorically stated that they were too young for social media accounts. Ironically, many parents create social media accounts for their children who are even younger than that. Whilst it may appear unrelated on the phase of it, many of these children become addicted at tender ages to these platforms and carry on these addictions into adulthood. It is not strange to find Gen Z and Millennials being more distracted by social media platforms at workplaces than Gen X that Baby Boomers.

In today’s digital age, the pervasive influence of social media has raised concerns about its impact on workplace productivity and employee well-being. To mitigate the challenges associated with social media addiction and misuse, it is essential for employers and individuals to adopt proactive measures. This article presents seven recommendations aimed at curbing social media-related issues in workplaces. By implementing these suggestions, employers can foster a productive work environment while promoting responsible social media use among employees. Additionally, individual responsibility and parental awareness are emphasized as crucial factors in addressing this growing concern.

  1. Establish clear social media usage policies: Employers should develop and communicate clear policies regarding social media usage during work hours. These policies should outline acceptable usage, time restrictions, and consequences for policy violations. Clear guidelines help employees understand expectations and encourage responsible social media use.
  2. Implement technology solutions: Employers can consider implementing technology solutions to minimize distractions caused by social media. For example, designated phone deposit areas can be created where employees are required to keep their phones during work hours. This reduces the temptation to constantly check social media notifications. Additionally, Wi-Fi jammers can block access to social media platforms on office networks, enabling employees to focus on their core responsibilities.
  3. Promote awareness and education: Employers should conduct awareness campaigns and provide education on the potential negative impacts of excessive social media use. By raising awareness about productivity implications and the risks of addiction, employees can make informed decisions about their social media habits.
  4. Lead by example: Business leaders should set an example by limiting their own social media usage during work hours. When leaders prioritize productivity and minimize distractions, it sends a message to employees about responsible social media use. Regular communication and reminders about the impact of excessive social media can reinforce this behavior.
  5. Encourage mindful social media use: Instead of banning social media entirely, employers can encourage employees to use it mindfully during designated breaks or outside work hours. By emphasizing the importance of work priorities and minimizing unnecessary distractions, employees can be more conscious of their social media usage. Setting boundaries and avoiding excessive scrolling or non-work-related interactions can promote responsible usage.
  6. Foster a supportive work environment: Employers can create an environment that supports focus and productivity. This can include providing designated quiet areas for uninterrupted work, minimizing unnecessary interruptions, and encouraging open communication about workload management.
  7. Parental awareness and responsibility: Parents should be mindful of the age appropriateness of social media for their children. It is important to understand the potential risks and negative effects of early social media exposure and make responsible decisions accordingly.

In conclusion, the widespread addiction and misuse of social media at workplaces pose significant concerns for productivity and employee well-being. The statistics reveal that employees spend a considerable amount of their working hours on social media platforms, hindering their ability to focus on their tasks. To address this issue, employers can implement clear social media usage policies, utilize technology solutions such as phone deposit areas and Wi-Fi jammers, promote awareness and education, lead by example, encourage mindful social media use, foster a supportive work environment, and emphasize parental awareness and responsibility. By adopting these recommendations, businesses can create a more productive and responsible social media culture in the workplace, benefiting both employees and organizations alike.

Written By: Yaw Addai Boadu

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