Social media use at work reduces performance

December 15, 2023

RUB experiment shows increase in productivity with a reduction of 30 minutes per day

Avoiding social media during working hours makes you happier and more productive. Just 30 minutes less per day improved the mental health, job satisfaction and commitment of participants in a one-week study, report researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (https://www.rub.de) (RUB).

Dependence as a stumbling block

“We suspect that people tend to find positive emotions in social networks that they miss in their everyday working life, especially when they feel overworked. In addition, some platforms such as LinkedIn also offer the opportunity to look for other jobs if you are dissatisfied with your current job,” explains RUB researcher Julia Brailovskaia.

In the short term, escaping from reality into the world of social networks may indeed lift the mood – but in the long term, addictive behaviour can also set in, which has the opposite effect. The team conducted an experiment. 166 people who worked part-time or full-time in various sectors and used non-work-related social media channels for at least 35 minutes a day took part.

Significantly happier at work

“In the group that spent 30 minutes less a day on social channels, job satisfaction and mental health improved significantly. The test subjects in this group felt less overworked and were more committed to their work than the control group,” says Brailovskaia. The feeling of missing out also decreased. The effects lasted for at least a week after the end of the experiment.

The researchers hypothesise that reduced social media use gives the test subjects more time for work tasks, reducing the feeling of being overworked and decreasing divided attention. “Our brains don’t cope well with constant distraction from a task. People who frequently interrupt themselves to keep up to date on social media make it more difficult to concentrate on their work and achieve poorer results.”

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