Recruits offered £500 to stop looking at Instagram


Something for the weekend: Remember the first Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic lockdown and how we all decided to learn new skills, such as basket weaving, tap dancing, becoming fluent in Mandarin and landscape painting? Not to mention all those health and fitness goals, of course. And then we thought we’d just check our Instagram feed.

Before you knew it, one year on, you’re still in your pyjamas, scrolling your smartphone screen with that glazed look in your eye and your mind wondering. Yes, you know who you are.

Well, you are not alone, it seems. Research by workplace skills provider HowNow into the opportunity costs of our growing scrolling habits has found that the average adult now spends 58 minutes a day on Instagram, 49 minutes on Facebook and 34 minutes on Twitter.

And now the organisation wants to do something about that by hiring three ‘study contractors’ at £500 a month to discover the level of skill an average person can attain in three months – by replacing that 58 minutes a day on Instagram with 58 minutes of learning.

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The lucky trio can choose anything they like, so long as it’s new to them. Should that be learning the zither then HowNow will provide the instrument and virtual lessons – although it warns that the value of these resources will be capped – so learning to conduct an orchestra is probably not an option.

Here at Employee Benefits, we are always willing to ditch the Insta-tainment and smartphone-gazing in favour of learning a few new skills but we wonder what employee wellbeing measures may be needed to support any drastic, cold turkey cut in screen-scrolling time.