Work break revolution
WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THE MEDIA BREATHER?
OFFICE selfies and Instagramming lunches eaten at desks could become the norm as social media breaks replace the once popular smoko.
As the cigarette smoke haze fades outside offices, there’s now a push to allow employees to tap into mobile phones and other devices to trawl social media.
But opponents of the idea say there are already enough breaks to scan posts and upload pictures, and personal interaction is being put further at risk.
While many employers have banned social media during work time, many workers are still liking their way through Facebook and Instagram.
According to last year’s Yellow Social Media Report from Sensis, 35 per cent of us access social media at work.
Almost half are accessing their apps on breaks and 34 per cent of social media users check platforms more than five times a day.
Australian Institute of Management WA chief executive officer Gary Martin said employees checking phones regularly were heavily distracted from their work and allocated opportunities to scan social media would get them more focused.
But work-related social media use was also on the rise, creating a problem for employers.
“Social media junkies will argue that not allowing them to check personal feeds during work time is unfair since they often attend to work-related emails and phone calls outside their regular working hours,” Professor Martin said.
“If we accept that blurring, we may see the old-fashioned but once frowned-upon smoko being replaced by the unofficially authorised — that is, not official nor prescribed but generally accepted — personal social media breather.”
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said employees already had morning, lunch and, in some workplaces, afternoon breaks, and social media should be confined to those.
And the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Jenny Lewis said real-life interaction should be encouraged, rather than dedicated social media breaks where employees interacted with their devices.
“At least (with) the smoko you interacted with work colleagues,” Professor Lewis said.
“That’s the biggest drawback, that it encourages you not to even interact with colleagues.”