Social Media and Productivity Loss
Heidi Zwart
social media productivity loss

With digital technology at our fingertips, focus and productivity have been casualties in our always connected lives. Social media platforms, in particular, are designed to hook us and keep us hooked. As a result, social media and productivity loss costs organizations significant time and money. 

Employees spend an average of 3 hours each day on their phones and average 40 minutes on social media during working hours, often more. Studies indicate that it takes an additional 23 minutes to refocus after scrolling their favorite apps. In total, that’s an hour of lost productivity each day. Multiply that times the number of employees in your company and the cost is staggering. For an exact number for your company, check out this online calculator to see the breakdown of where your employees spend their time.

As remote work becomes the norm for many companies, the use of social media and lost productivity data might rise. If you’re an employer, what can you do about this?

Implement a No Phone Policy

While you can’t monitor social media use when employees are working from home, you can implement a “no phone” policy at meetings. Keep cameras turned on and set the expectation that you expect participation. Assigning topics for departments or specific employees to lead during your meetings will likely promote greater engagement throughout your meeting. You can minimize social media and productivity loss during this window.

Set Internet Use Policies

Organizations can determine what sites are accessible and which ones are not on their company network. Communicate your policy to your employees so that they are familiar with fair use agreements and agree to adhere to them. When polled, 78% of employees reported being okay with companies restricting access to certain websites when polled. While not a perfect solution, it does put one level of prevention in place to discourage social media and productivity lost as a result.

Do you work in higher education? Social media can take a toll on students’ mental health. Visit our For Schools page to learn how BetterYou helped Stanford students get 30 more minutes of sleep per night and 1,000 more steps per day.

Schedule Breaks

Cyberloafing is another term for taking those scroll breaks on social media. Research is mixed on whether this positively or negatively impacts productivity. Typically, a 15 minute break is the recommended time for employees to rejuvenate and be able to re-engage in their work. The key for your organization is understanding the nature of your work and your employees. Match your expectations about cyberloafing accordingly to reduce the negative impact of social media and productivity lost.

Recruit Help  

Why not meet your employees where they’re at? BetterYou is a digital coach that works with your employees social media use rather than against it. Employees set personal goals around their overall wellness, including time spent on social media. When they get off track, BetterYou “nudges” users into making better decisions that align with their goals. With the help of AI technology called BetterBot, over time it determines the prime time to send nudges to optimize effectiveness and, ultimately, boost employee engagement. 

If social media and productivity loss is affecting your bottom line (hint: it is!) contact us to learn more about how we can help. We’d love to hear from you! 

If you’re interested in how social media affects productivity, check out our article about how social media affects sleep.

The BetterYou app uses behavior science to improve digital health and make it stick.

Want to learn how?