Tweet it. Update your status. Blog it. Add it to your LinkedIn status. Like it. Tag it. Post it. Comment on it. Retweet it. Upload it. Subscribe to it. Anyone who keeps up with the influx of social media permeation in every aspect of society will immediately recognize most or all of these terms. Without a doubt, the multitudes of social media platforms have gained substantial ground in our world: ground that, most likely, will not be relinquished any time soon. A bigger question, then, has arisen: with employees surrounded by thousands of ways to keep in touch with the outside world while working, are productivity levels doomed to slide into Twitter oblivion? Actually, social media is having a surprisingly opposite effect on work productivity. Social media is improving work productivity.
Without a doubt, the “Twitter Generation” has excellent practice at the art of multitasking. While adults in their 40′s or 50′s can easily manage three to five tasks at once, the teens and twenty-somethings are effectively managing between ten and twenty tasks and interactions at any given moment. The difference is staggering. Young adults’ involvement with social media has required them to develop astounding multitasking abilities. Monitoring Twitter updates, replying quickly to a Facebook message, checking blogs, and sending email is all managed simultaneously. The young adult is able to compartmentalize these different outlets, managing several tasks at once – an ability translates well to the workplace. Younger adults can handle a variety of tasks and a greater workload, increasing productivity.
The Mental Break
Scientists now believe that a reasonable escape into the world of social media may be providing young workers with a healthy, productivity-increasing mental break. When workers remove themselves from the task at hand for two minutes every hour, their focus on work projects does not wane over time. Creativity, efficiency and intellectual focus, instead of fading toward the end of a work day, are preserved throughout the day. This yields more productive employees.
In the Twitter world, “tweets” are limited to a mere 160 characters. Blog posts are most often read when they are clear and concise. Texts must be fast to be effective. Emails are short and to the point. The younger generation is learning, with remarkable adeptness, how to be brief and efficient in their communication. Gone are the days of sending time-consuming company memos or planning a monthly, time-wasting office meeting. Instead, employees are offering a constant stream of micro-communication which saves time and energy. Additionally, the WPM, or words per minute, rate of typing in social media users is much higher.
The desktop rolodex is a thing of the past. Workers today are widening their contact range and increasing their networks with the use of social media. Access to the world is literally at their fingertips as they form contacts, increase their client base, and access names and numbers with efficiency. There is arguably no better tool for increasing productivity-boosting contacts than the social media platforms available today.
Trends and Topics
Social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter, are excellent ways for employees to discover what topics are “trending” at any given time. Trending refers to a process where a certain name, product, event or story is accessed by large numbers of individuals within a relatively short time frame. By identifying current trends, employees ensure that their work is up-to-date and applicable. Marketing strategies are greatly improved by accessing and utilizing current trends. Social media users know what is working, what is popular, and what will sell.
The New Business Model
Consumers who watch television, read magazines, notice billboards or receive mail will notice that the business model is almost universally changing. Business is adapting to include the use of social media, a form of advertising and business conduct that is free, efficient and widespread. Transactions are taking place entirely within the realm of a social media platform; advertisers are using Twitter and Facebook to sell products; companies are boasting Facebook and Twitter accounts where they post information, deals and products. Employees who know the world of social media can pull their companies into the future, increasing the productivity of the entire company.
Perhaps the most incontrovertible benefit to the use of social media in the workplace is the wealth of information and resources that these platforms provide. Information, whether financial, social or historical can be accessed instantly and easily with the help of a social media network. Employees will no longer waste time seeking information down fruitless avenues. Social media users know exactly where to get the needed information.
Many employers are panicking, worrying that their employees are wasting company time checking Facebook and updating Twitter. The truth, however, is that social media can actually improve work productivity when used wisely and efficiently.
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