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Eugene the Egg Cracks

Studies suggest that the average millennial spends over two hours a day using their phone. They check it approximately 157 times and18% of social media users can’t go beyond a few hours without checking Facebook, and that two-thirds of people check their newsfeed at least once a day. That’s quite a sobering thought.

Enter Eugene (the Instagram egg now world famous for beating Kylie Jenner's most-liked post) which has been used as a way of reminding people that they can get help.

In the 30-second video shown after Sunday's Super Bowl LIII, the egg cracks and falls apart. The caption reads as follows: "Recently I've started to crack. The pressure of social media is getting to me. If you're struggling too, talk to someone".

Good idea, Eugene.

Addiction to social media technology is real and damaging lives. Research tells us that people are increasingly becoming unhappy with their use of screen time and social media. The endless cycle of apps like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, and so on are highly addictive and designed to distract.

One problem is that the use of social media forms part of many business’ marketing strategies, so using social media at work is a daily activity for some employees. And the use of social media in the workplace is not confined to marketing. People who work in other fields such as recruitment, engineering, or communications also need to be on social media during the day.

What can employers do to protect employees from over-use and reduce the risk of social media addition?

Start with a policy that provides guidance, standards and boundaries for the use of internet and social media.

Most people realise that to break the cycle of the social media addiction, they can turn off notifications, block pop-ups or simply shove the device out of sight or hearing. But it can be helpful to have workplace rules or tips to set boundaries and encourage and reinforce healthy behaviours.

Help employees to focus. The work place is filled with distractions which come in all shapes, whether in the form of meetings, water-cooler chats, or non-stop social media notifications. By encouraging employees to focus properly and create distraction-free time, you can dramatically improve their productivity (and with it, their happiness).

Try running meetings that involve no screens (mobile, watch, or laptop) whatsoever and watch focus increase.

Have a no-device rule during important company meetings and social events. By clearly stating, "This is a no-device time" for specific events, you will have a greater impact on people than a blanket ban on all devices, so use it sparingly.

One of the most negative effects of social media is that it makes people feel less connected and socially supported than before. To counter this, establish regular face-to-face time for your team. Having a team lunch together (or other similar social relaxed time) is a great way to do it.

If you have an employee assistance programme you can also offer staff who are concerned about their over-use of social medial confidential support including counselling, information, guidance and referrals.

By providing the right tools to your team can make a big difference in encouraging them to look at their usage and set limits. A balanced approach to technology usage that extends from home to office will definitely help improve.

If you need help sorting out HR problems, give us a call on 01908 262628.

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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2019 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.

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