Workers in the media and telecommunications industries are embracing social media in a much bigger way than employees in other industries, according to recent research from Microsoft.

Only 38 percent of respondents in those sectors say social tools are a distraction at work, and just 33 percent say using social tools at work is frowned upon. Both of those percentages are the lowest of all industry respondents, Microsoft says. In addition, 44 percent of respondents in those industries say they use social media to promote a work-related initiative, by far the highest of all industries.

Microsoft commissioned research firm Ipsos to survey 9,908 information workers in 32 countries. The survey was conducted online from March 25 to April 24, 2013.

In the teleco industry, the research found that 71 percent of employees use social tools to communicate with colleagues — among the highest percentage of all industries surveyed. Telecom respondents were also among the most likely to say their company understands the benefits of social tools.

Other key findings of the report were that 39 percent of employees overall feel that there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces, and 40 percent think social tools help foster better teamwork. Nearly one-third said they are willing to spend their own money to buy social tools. Nearly half of employees said social tools at work help increase their productivity.

“Employees are already bringing their own devices into their workplaces, but now they are increasingly bringing their own services as well,” Charlene Li, founder and analyst at Altimeter Group, said in a statement about the survey. “Employees expect to work differently, with tools that feel more modern and connected, but are also reflective of how they interact in their personal lives. Enterprise social represents a new way to work, and organizations embracing these tools are improving collaboration, speeding customer responses and creating competitive advantages.”

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