Workers Believe E-Mail and Internet Make Them More Productive
TROY, Mich. - A new international workplace survey by Kelly Services finds that 76 percent of U.S. survey respondents regularly use e-mail, the Internet or both while at work -- and most believe it improves the quality of their output.
“E-mail and the Internet have become a way of life on the job that was hard to imagine even a decade ago,” said George Corona, senior vice president of Kelly Services. “That’s all the more reason employers need proper policies and programs to make sure these technological tools deliver their full productivity potential.”
The Kelly Global Workforce Index sought the views of approximately 70,000 people in 28 countries, including almost 4,000 in the United States. Overall, 78 percent of respondents said they use these online tools on a regular basis.
Among the survey’s findings:
* 66 percent of the U.S. workers surveyed use both e-mail and the
Internet, 7 percent use e-mail only, and 4 percent use the Internet
only; just 12 percent use neither, while a similar percentage did
not indicate their usage.
* There is overwhelming acceptance that the technology has a positive
impact on the quality of work; 67 percent of the U.S. group said the
use of e-mail increases productivity, while 63 percent said Internet
access does so.
* Industries with particularly high usage of online communications
include Information Technology, Engineering and
Science/Pharmaceutical; lowest are Retail, Manufacturing and
* Workers are concerned about the sheer volume of “pointless” e-mail,
with 35 percent complaining about the high volume of e-mails that
are either time-wasting or unnecessary.
Despite the technology’s pervasiveness, its use by the American workforce pales by comparison to other parts of the world. As many as 98 percent of their counterparts in Hong Kong, for example, report that e-mail and the Internet are integral to their work.
Other countries where usage was more than 90 percent were Mexico (94 percent), India (93 percent), Thailand (93 percent) and Indonesia (91 percent). Also ranking ahead of the United States, which tied with the Netherlands for 17th place, were Singapore, Italy, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Russia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
Corona said the Kelly Services survey highlights the critical need for employers to develop policies and provide the training and support to enable workers to use online tools correctly and to their full advantage. Issues to cover should include:
* The extent to which the use of e-mail or the Internet for personal
purposes is permitted.
* What types of material may be created, copied, downloaded, uploaded
* How confidential information is to be protected.
* What constitutes unacceptable use.
* The consequences of unacceptable use.
“The overall effect of electronic communication on workplace productivity is exceedingly positive,” said Corona. “Employers simply need to ensure that their workers treat these technologies as tools, not toys.”
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