COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the already ongoing digitalization of work life. At workplaces, various collaborative technologies such as social media platforms and quick messaging services are utilized more actively than before corona crisis. Social media enables employees to create and maintain their social networks and to follow, produce and share work related information in public social media platforms (e.g., LinkedIn) or in enterprise social media platforms (e.g., MS Teams).
Social media can induce, for example, stress and burnout, if concentration to work is disturbed or if the boundaries between work and private life are blurred. Fortunately, organizations can protect themselves from the negative implications of technology usage. Work engagement, social support and organizational identification are examples of these positive buffers. However, more research is needed to examine how professional social media usage can threaten and sustain employees’ wellbeing at work.
The corona crisis has changed the world and work life profoundly. The research team is analyzing the possibilities of new technologies before and during the digital leap with nationwide longitudinal data.
The aim of the research project is to explore how social media is used for work purposes and the relationship to perceived wellbeing and illbeing for Finnish employees. The research team has collected focus group interviews (N = 52) and an online survey (N = 563) of five expert organizations during 2018. A national longitudinal survey (N = 1817) has been collected among Finnish employees aged 18–65 working from diverse occupational fields since 2019 and the survey is still ongoing. We have approximately 1000 respondents that have responded to all survey rounds.
The research gives comprehensive view on how employees use social media for professional purposes and the association to their wellbeing.
Following topics are covered in the research:
- Social media usage
- Work engagement
- Job demands and job and personal resources
- Psychological distress
- Organizational identification
- Cyberbullying at work
The research project is part of Tampere University Emerging Technologies Lab and Work Research Centre (WRC). In addition, the research project collaborates with Safely Remotely – occupational well-being and its management in telework research project.
For organizations, the project provides essential information on how social media can be utilized to develop ways of working, wellbeing at work and organizational culture practices taking into account both the possibilities and the burdening factor of professional social media usage.
The results help organizations e.g.:
- crystalize their social media guidance, training and practices
- provide needed support, encouragement and practical examples for professional social media usage
- consider various motivational factors and flexibility related to professional social media usage
- take into account positive aspects of professional social media usage (e.g. information sharing and togetherness)
- take into account possible negative aspects of professional social media usage (e.g. technostress and cyberbullying at work)
The research contributes to theory by providing multidisciplinary findings to multiple research fields (e.g. social psychology, work and organizational psychology, human resource management, behavioral science, information technology).
The research also provides new information about usages of social media usage and other technologies at work.
The research has received funding from The Finnish Work Environment Fund in 2018-2020 (Professional social media use and work engagement among young adults) and Tampere University in 2020. The Finnish Cultural Foundation has funded the research in 2022 and also funded Researcher Reetta Oksa in 2021-2022. Wihuri Foundation will fund the survey data collection in 2023 (timepoints 9 and 10).