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Is “Fear of Missing Out” a Good Thing for Employers?

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Is “Fear of Missing Out” a Good Thing for Employers?

FOMO, short for Fear of Missing Out, refers to the obsession to be connected at all times. Is it a good thing for employers?

If you are unfamiliar with the term FOMO, you are missing out. Literally.

FOMO, short for Fear of Missing Out, refers to the obsession to be connected at all times. It’s where we are so preoccupied through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates that we can’t fathom being alone anymore. Sound familiar?

At some point we have all been affected by FOMO. Whether directly through our own habits, or indirectly through friends checking their social streams while with us, it’s happening everywhere. And now it’s happening at work.

An estimated 30% of employees feel the need to ‘check in’ during evenings and weekends, and approximately 24% fear they will be viewed as less committed to work if they do not connect during their time-off. It’s no surprise that the line between an engaged workplace and an over-connected one is becoming blurred.

A mobile culture helped get the ball rolling on FOMO, but another trend is also contributing: Enterprise 2.0 social software. We’ve been hearing for years now that employees need to be more connected to each other—that we need to increase collaboration, share knowledge, and stop working in silos. Thanks to social business tools we now are. But because these tools are cloud-based employees no longer need to be at work to stay connected. This is where things can get fuzzy.

On the plus side employees are getting to know each other on a deeper and meaningful level and are feeling more positive about work. On the downside over-connected employees are checking in when they probably shouldn’t—like while at the beach on vacation, during a wedding ceremony, or even during the birth of their child.

There is also the issue of overtime. If we are constantly working, shouldn’t we constantly be getting paid? Well you can now in Brazil. A new law claims company emails to workers are equal to direct orders. This officially allows employees who respond to after-shift emails to qualify for overtime.

With an increase in social business tools and mobile devices, FOMO is only set to increase. And while employees may struggle with finding time to ‘unplug’, employers aren’t about to return to an era where employees were disconnected and unengaged.

What are your thoughts? Are connected employees an asset or part of a disturbing trend?

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Kelly Batke

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