FOMO at the Workplace

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Fear is an emotion almost everyone feels. Common phobias include fear of heights or spiders, but what about fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO. We all know someone who suffers from it and needs to be constantly in the loop at all times. Although FOMO has been in the mainstream through social media with people updating statuses and posting photos of activities and events, many experience FOMO at a young age. For example, as a child were you ever scared of falling asleep before the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve? Let’s fast-forward a few decades when you entered the workforce—have you ever had a manager who exhibited FOMO at the workplace? Or an employee who is constantly on his/her cell phone or texting or facebooking or tweeting or blogging at work?

FOMO is not only limited to social media outlets, it can also be found in businesses and organizations. There are those managers who live for their job; they do not want to miss any aspect of their project because they were assigned or better yet, created the assignment. They treat their project as though it were their child: they want to be the only one who provides nurturing and is solely responsible for its development. They juggle many projects at once and wear many hats within the company because they fear someone may do it wrong, or they may simply want to feel superior. These individuals may be categorized as perfectionists, strong-minded, or hardworking. However, in pejorative terms, they can also be seen as egotistical, power-hungry, or greedy.

How does having FOMO in the workplace affect leaders and the overall morale of the company? When leaders designate too much responsibility on themselves, stress levels soar. They must delegate tasks and assignments to others. This will not only be beneficial for their well-being, but it will also positively enhance their leadership style and allow their employees to contribute and learn via practical and physical engagement. The employees’ will feel more motivated to work, which in turn increases productivity and overall capital growth. 

We can compare this type of leader with the one who does too little. Think of the CEO who only wants to have fun at all times and attend retreats and trips. Sure, these leaders have paid their dues, but having a lax leader can leave a company running astray in multiple directions. Leaders strive to be the very best, but when FOMO ensues, it’s a different story.  Be that “superstar” leader others admire as depicted in the Manager’s Oath (check it out here: http://thehumanbalance.com/2013/06/13/from-scout-to-manager-the-managers-oath/)!

Turning away from leadership roles, we can also see employees exhibiting FOMO. Email and technology are ingrained in our culture; emails and the internet can easily be assessable via smart phones. You may have witnessed a co-worker in a meeting who is constantly on his/her phone (or the culvert may be you!) checking emails or browsing the internet. And why do employees do this: it is because they want to know what is happening outside of their workplace and they do not want to miss out on anything.

Sure, some can say they are being more productive by multitasking, but that brings us back to the point mentioned above of putting too many things on one’s plate. If anything, it may be more of a cost than a gain—employees distract themselves by checking their phones rather than actually completing projects.

FOMO can happen in all forms. It starts at a young age and affects us throughout our lives. Everyone has some form of FOMO here and there, but if we just stop what we’re doing and live in the moment, then FOMO wouldn’t be such an issue.

If one of your leaders and/or employees is experiencing FOMO and there is no help, consider leadership/team training and programs. After all, a company is as only good as their management.

*e-VentExe offers HR Outsourcing, employee training and development programs geared towards the company’s needs.

 

 

 

 

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