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Work- and non-work-related social media use during work breaks: Effects on daily employee well-being and recovery

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Despoina Xanthopoulou, Konstantina Foti, Professor Savvas Papagiannidis

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Abstract

Purpose. Social media usage is a popular activity that employees engage in on a daily basis. Work breaks offer an opportunity to go online and use services such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, the evidence so far is inconclusive as to whether social media use during work breaks is favorable or unfavorable for employee functioning. To shed light on these inconclusive findings, in this diary study we focused on the degree to which social media use during breaks concerns work- or non-work-related (i.e., personal) issues. Our aim was to test whether work and non-work social media use during work breaks relate differentially with recovery during and after work, and whether employee well-being during work (i.e., exhaustion and work engagement) mediates this process. Drawing upon the effort-recovery model and the recovery literature, we hypothesized that social media use for work purposes during work breaks will inhibit, while social media use for personal purposes will facilitate the state of recovery after the breaks. In turn, employees who manage to recover successfully after their breaks will be more engaged and less exhausted at work and consequently, will experience a lower need for recovery at the end of their shift. Finally, we hypothesized that reduced need for recovery after work will relate with successful recovery before bedtime. Design/Methodology. Forty-one employees completed a general survey and a daily diary for three to five working days, twice per day: at the end of their shift and before bedtime. Data were analyzed with multi-level analysis. Results. Results showed that using social media for work-related purposes during work breaks was unrelated to the state of recovery after work breaks, while using social media for non-work purposes related positively to the state of recovery after breaks. Social media use for personal purposes during breaks related negatively to exhaustion during work through the successful recovery after breaks, while social media use for work purposes during breaks had a direct negative relationship with work engagement. Successful recovery after work breaks related negatively to exhaustion during work, which consequently, resulted in a lower need for recovery at the end of the workday. Finally, need for recovery at the end of the workday related negatively to recovery at bedtime. Discussion/Limitations. Our findings advance previous studies on the role of social media usage during work breaks by highlighting the importance of accounting for the content of use in order to understand when these activities facilitate and when they inhibit employee functioning. Also, we found that employee well-being during work, and particularly exhaustion, is the core mechanism that links recovery during work breaks and recovery during leisure. The reliance on self-report data and the fact that break-related experiences were assessed at the end of the workday (and not right after each break) are important study limitations. Conclusion. The study underscores the importance of social media use during work breaks not only for employee functioning during work, but also after work is done.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Xanthopoulou D, Foti K, Papagiannidis S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 14th European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology Conference

Year of Conference: 2020

Acceptance date: 14/12/2019


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