Reducing social media use by just 30 minutes a day not only improves overall mental health, but also engagement and satisfaction at work.
A new study by experts at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) examined how reducing daily social media use affects employees from various professional groups in Central Europe. The results are published in the specialist journal “Behavior and Information Technology”.
How does social media affect mood?
Social media is now an integral part of many people’s lives. Some studies have already shown that social media use can improve mood, while others have found the opposite results.
Research has also shown that the use of social media has a negative impact on mental health and that there is a feeling of missing something important when you are not online, which is also known as FoMO (acronym for Fear of Missing Out), they explain researchers.
“We suspect that people tend to use social networks to generate positive emotions that they miss in their everyday work, especially when they feel overloaded,” adds study author Julia Brailovskaia in a press release.
The expert adds that people may also look for new jobs via platforms such as LinkedIn if they are dissatisfied with their current job.
Social media can help you escape from reality and improve your mood in the short term, but in the long term there is a risk of developing addictive behavior, which is associated with the opposite effects.
What effect does social media reduction have?
For the new study, a total of 166 people were examined who worked either part-time or full-time in various professional groups. The participants spent at least 35 minutes a day using social media outside of work.
All participants were randomly divided into two different groups, with one group being instructed to continue their social media use as before. The second group, on the other hand, reduced their daily non-work-related time spent on social media by 30 minutes for seven days.
Job satisfaction determined
The participants filled out questionnaires about their current workload, job satisfaction, their commitment, their mental health and their existing stress at the beginning of the study, one day after the examination and one week later.
In addition, the participants also provided information in the questionnaires about their fear of missing out on something online if they did not use social media and other behavior that could indicate addictive behavior in relation to social media.
Job satisfaction and mental health
“Even after this short period of time, we found that the group who spent 30 minutes less on social media each day significantly improved their job satisfaction and mental health,” reports Brailovskaia.
According to the researchers, these people also felt less overloaded and were more committed to work than the participants in the control group.
In addition, participants who reduced their use of social media felt that they were missing out on something online. The benefits achieved lasted for at least a week and in some cases even increased during that time, the team explains.
Why does work performance benefit?
Presumably, by reducing social media use, the participants had more time for their work and they felt less overloaded, according to the experts. In addition, divided attention has decreased.
“Our brains don’t cope well with constant distraction from a task. People who frequently interrupt their work to check their social media have a harder time concentrating on their work and achieve poorer results,” explains Brailovskaia.
Social media promotes alienation
In addition, time spent on social media can prevent employees from interacting with other employees in real life. This promotes alienation. Reducing the time spent on social media can reduce these effects, the experts report.
Reducing the use of social media doesn’t just improve people’s satisfaction and engagement at work. Another study by the research group showed that reducing daily social media use by just 20 to 30 minutes also reduced depressive symptoms while improving mental health. (as)