Employee Wellbeing: What is Doomscrolling?March 22, 2022
From years of events concerning the Covid-19 pandemic to the horrific invasion of Ukraine by Russia, bad news has felt inescapable recently. For many, keeping on top of this news cycle involves consuming a constant feed of stories describing similar events, and this can often do more harm than good. It has become so common in fact that the term ‘doomscrolling’ has been coined for it, and its impact on our mental health is significant, here’s how it can affect Employee Wellbeing.
What is Doomscrolling?
Sometimes also known as ‘doomsurfing’, it involves compulsively scrolling through negative news and social media content. It is usually done in a misguided attempt to keep up with the latest in global events, but instead has a depressing or upsetting impact on the individual. Doomscrolling became a prominent term in 2020 when the news cycle was Dominated by the Pandemic, whilst recent events are expected to create a new surge in the phenomena.
In the workplace, doomscrolling can also be spurred on by Employee Burnout or Boreout, as well as low engagement with work. But distracting yourself from work with negative news isn’t a solution to these problems.
How can Doomscrolling affect Employee Mental Health?
Smartphones and social media have made it easier than ever to consume information and news (both real and fake). Moreover, the emergence of something negative or troubling in the world is inevitably going to drive many of us to seek details using these channels. But entering a spiral during such news cycles can be extremely harmful to your mental and physical health.
In essence, doomscrolling can create a vicious circle. Constantly reading about depressing events can trigger anxiety, which in turn can reinforce a compulsion to check the latest news or social media reactions. Consequently, these mental health effects can spill over into other areas and cause physical issues like Sleep Deprivation.
For employers, the effects of this could be seen in several ways. Decreased Employee Engagement due to doomscrolling is one such potential outcome, as is worsening productivity and a troubling workplace atmosphere, often associated with time spent discussing the current state of affairs and groups of colleagues feeding off each other’s anxieties. Again, all of this can also be cyclical, resulting in a downward spiral in employee wellbeing, creating distracted and disengaged teams.
How do you stop?
Whilst it’s important to stay informed on what’s happening in the world, some tips to avoid compulsively checking news or social media cycles include:
- Acknowledging the impact of doomscrolling and talking to someone you trust about it
- Taking a break from social media (checking these sites only on desktop devices, for instance)
- Setting a time limit with screen-limiting apps such as Moment
- Seeking some positive news each day (sites such as BBC News have an Uplifting Stores section)
And, for those concerned about employee mental health, you can help your staff by:
- Reading information on the Different areas of Employee Wellbeing
- Being available for staff if they need someone to talk to
- Encouraging open discussions about mental health
- Checking up on employees if you’re worried about them (especially if they Work Remotely)
Hive360’s Employee Wellbeing Services
Hive360 aims to support employee mental health through Our Comprehensive Benefits App, which comes as standard with all Our Services. For more information on this, you can View Our Demonstration Page Here.