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Thursday, September 7, 2017

IS THE SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK THE NEW SMOKE BREAK FOR YOUNG WORKERS?

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Those of us who have been in the workforce for some time can recall the time when 10 to 15 minute breaks were regularly scheduled throughout the day so employees could take a cigarette break.

With fewer adults smoking, and work schedules being more fluid, we see fewer regularly scheduled breaks as part of the work day. However, with socially connected millennials and the next generation of workers about to enter the workforce (Generation Z born after the year 2000), employers may need to re-introduce the scheduled break—not for a cigarette but to catch up on your social media feed.

In his Growing Leaders blog, Six Simple Ways to Better Engage Generation Z, author Tim Elmore references a change former Rams football coach Jeff Fisher made in engaging his players, the average age of which was 24. Instead of his standard two-hour meeting, Coach Fisher found he “got more engaged attendees when he allowed them to get their ’social media fix’ every half hour.” He now schedules four, 30-minute meetings with three social media breaks.

And according to the #Being13 Study conducted by CNN, some 13-year-olds—future employees—check their social accounts as much as 100 times per day. Clearly, this need to constantly be connected can have a detrimental impact on productivity in the workplace.

In the webinar presentation: Debunking Employee Productivity Myths, Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino stated that, “The human brain is unable to consciously pay full attention to two tasks at the same time. Studies show that a person who is attempting to multitask takes 50 percent longer to accomplish a task, and he or she makes up to 50 percent more mistakes.”

So businesses will be better served by allowing employees to remain socially connected, but at designated times of the day. But how do you ensure employees are taking these “social breaks” at the right times so as not to impact customer service response time or accuracy of execution?

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Solutions such as Verint Desktop and Process Analytics (DPA) can map application usage against activity-based schedules, such as those created in the Enterprise Workforce Management solution. If a non-production-related application is accessed during designated production time, the adherence screen will show the exception.

Designating specific times of the day for checking social feeds can have multiple benefits. It can help:

  • Keep millennials and the soon to enter workforce, Gen Zs, more productive and engaged
  • Create an advantage in attracting young talent by allowing intra-day access to social media sites
  • Establish the expectation that personal cell phones will remain off during production hours, minimizing the distraction of new social feed alerts.

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