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Survey: Employees’ appetite for social tools is increasing

Redmond, Wash. -- Nearly half of employees report that social tools at work help increase their productivity, but more than 30% of companies underestimate the value of these tools and often restrict their use, according to a study by Microsoft Corp.

The survey, conducted for by research firm Ipsos among 9,908 information workers in 32 countries, found that 39% of employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces, and 40% believe social tools help foster better teamwork. More surprisingly, 31% said they are willing to spend their own money to buy social tools.

“Just as email accelerated the pace of business in the ’90s, enterprise social will be the driver of greater agility and transformation in the 21st century workplace,” said Kurt DelBene, president, Microsoft Office Division. “As we look ahead at how collaboration and communications continue to evolve, we believe the tools people use today — email, instant messaging, voice, videoconferencing, social — will come together and be deeply integrated into apps in ways that will speed collaboration and truly transform the way people work.”

The research also found distinct differences between genders as they relate to the levels of productivity, collaboration and communication tools used in the workplace, including: 

• Men are more likely than women to attribute higher productivity levels to social tools in a professional setting.

• Women are more likely than men to believe their company restricts the use of social tools.

• Men are more likely than women to say these restrictions are due to security concerns, while women are more likely to blame productivity loss.

© 2014