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Email is most important work tool

News, 05 January 2015

WASHINGTON DC: Despite the possibilities offered by social media and other emerging technologies in the workplace, traditional email and the internet remain the most important information tools for Americans, a new survey has found.

Based on the online responses of more than 1,000 US adult internet users, the Pew Research Center said that only 4% of participants thought social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were “very important” to their jobs.

By comparison, email was considered to be very important for 61% of American workers, followed by the internet (54%), the landline phone (35%) and mobile phones or smartphones (24%).

While email and the internet were particularly important for office-based workers, the report said they were also "critical" for the 59% of employed online adults whose work took them outside of the office.

"Email continues to be the main digital artery that workers believe is important to their jobs. Since taking hold a generation ago, email has not loosened its grip on the American workplace," the report explained.

Interestingly, nearly half of the respondents (46%) said the internet, email and related technologies made them feel more productive, while just 7% said they had become less productive.

On the downside, over a third (35%) said they were working longer hours because of emails, the internet and mobile phones.

But the main advantages of these communication tools were to expand the number of people outside of their organisation that they could communicate with (51%) and to allow them more flexibility in the hours they work (39%).

Data sourced from Pew Research Center; additional content by Warc staff