SINCE the advent of social media, many people practically live, move and eat online.
It is common to find people glued to their electronic gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets regardless of where they are. This could be at a restaurant, sporting event, family get-together, vacation, church or work.
At work, it has been observed that many employees, instead of working, spend a good chunk of man hours updating their profiles on Facebook and chatting on WhatsApp.
While social media has enhanced human interactions through speedy communication regardless of geographical location, it has also come with its own negative implications on workers’ productivity.
Some schools of thought have indicated that unlimited and unregulated access to social media during work hours has a negative impact on productivity.
In most organisations it is indeed indisputable that work is suffering at the hands of social media. Employees’ attention is constantly divided between attending to social media conversations and work.
Some workers’ level of engagement on social media can be traced through their postings and contributions to conversations on the various platforms.
Going by the frequency and time updates are made on social media by individuals it can be deduced that not much time is left for productivity.
This attitude if not kept in check can hinder the progress and productivity of an individual, organisation, community or indeed the nation as a whole.
This is why Lusaka Mayor Wilson Kalumba is warning residents of the country’s capital to stop spending too much time on Facebook and WhatsApp during working hours for them to meaningfully contribute to the development of the city.
True to Mr Kalumba’s observations, the full commitment and output of all citizens is key to the development of our cities and country as a whole.
In a message posted on the Lusaka City Council website, Mr Kalumba notes that it is not fair to employers for workers to spend most of their operational hours on Facebook or WhatsApp instead of devoting themselves to duty.
It is actually daylight robbery for any employee to use the employer’s time to engage in personal activities such as chatting on WhatsApp and Facebook.
Zambian labour laws stipulate that employees have an obligation to devote eight hours a day or 40 hours a week to their employers’ business.
Employees need to earn their wages by ensuring productivity during work hours.
Above all it is the collective contributions of individual citizens that will develop this country and spending hours on social media, sharing jokes will not help push the agenda.
We are particularly concerned that apart from social media public service workers have been reported to use work hours to watch entertainment programmes on television.
Recently, Southern Province Minister, Edify Hamukale warned public service workers over watching soap operas aired on Telemundo and Zee World channels during working hours.
“I have received complaints from government departments and private shop owners with television sets that some workers are abusing these facilities by watching Telemundo and Zee World instead of working,” Dr Hamukale said.
As a country that is still yearning for development, we cannot afford to spend hours on social media at the expense of productivity.
This is not to say people should not use social media, rather they should do so responsibly.
Posterity will judge us harshly if we fail to develop this country because we were busy on Facebook and WhatsApp.