Work break rev­o­lu­tion

WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THE ME­DIA BREATHER?

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - ALEKS DEVIC

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.”

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