In episode 42 of “The JoyPowered™ Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss social media’s impact on mental health and the workplace with therapist Danielle Ireland. Topics include why people are drawn to social media, common complaints about it, and how to use it for good.
Ultimately, the thing we crave that draws us to social media is connection. It’s hard to say that one reason applies to everyone, but one thing that seems to be true across cultures, religions, ideologies, and genders is that we want to be seen and heard, fully appreciated, and connected in our lives. Social media has a lot of potential for connection, opportunity, and growing businesses, but it also introduces some potential challenges because it’s a relatively new concept. When we’re stepping into something we don’t understand and we’re feeling afraid, vulnerable, intimidated, or uncertain, we fall back into default behaviors like getting critical, judging, and gossiping.
We need to create stronger boundaries around social media, and technology in general. We often believe that we’re able to multitask, looking at our phones while talking to someone or doing another task, but when we receive a text or other notification, receptors fire off in our brain that immediately pull our attention away from whatever we’re doing, and when we check the notification, it takes 10 times longer than the action itself to get refocused on our work. There’s no direct link between social media and self-esteem, but in Danielle’s opinion, social media ramps up the volume and cranks up the intensity of pre-existing conditions within relationships, like feeling like you’re not good enough.
As employers, the first step to help the impact of social media in the workplace is to accept that social media exists and all your employees have some form of profile. New employees coming into a company have to recognize that their social media is an extension and ultimately a representation of the company they’re working for. Have a discussion with your employees about taking down posts that don’t fit within the boundaries of your company or changing privacy settings so potential clients won’t be able to see posts that don’t align with your company’s values. Social media is a fantastic connector and can be an ally in your life, you just have to figure out how to use it safely.
Social media can be used as a force for good in the world. Everyone now has a public voice, which is not an opportunity we had in prior generations. You can form relationships or sustain relationships from far away. It’s equally important to consider what’s right with something as it is to consider what’s wrong; often the solution isn’t found in focusing on the problem.
Get in touch with Danielle:
In this episode’s listener mail, Zach is expecting to lay off a whole department before the end of the year, and is worried that including a pregnant employee in that group will be viewed as discrimination. In the news, JoDee and Susan discuss a study showing that the typical low-income worker earns about 1% less than someone working in the same job 40 years ago.