Business

Survey: Tech has FREED modern workers – to work longer hours

Internet, email make you more productive, more of the time

Americans think technology has made them more productive at work, but it also has many of them working longer hours, according to a new report.

The study, which was conducted by the nonprofit Pew Research Center using data gathered from 535 people in September 2014, reveals that 46 per cent of US workers believe that the internet, email, and mobile phones have upped their productivity, while only 7 per cent think their productivity has gone down.

Many modern workers also think technology has changed the way that they work, with 39 per cent reporting that they now have more flexible working hours as a result.

Curiously, however, almost the same number – 35 per cent of those surveyed – reported that the very same technologies have increased the number of hours they work each day.

What's abundantly clear, though, is that there's no going back. A separate Pew Study using data collected in 2013 showed that 94 per cent of US jobholders are internet users. And in the current survey, 54 per cent of respondents said the internet was "very important" to doing their jobs.

In another head-scratcher of a twist, however, 61 per cent of those surveyed said email was "very important" – more than gave that distinction to the internet itself.

"What is potentially surprising is that even in the face of constantly evolving forms of digital communication, potential threats like phishing, hacking and spam, and dire warnings about lost productivity and email overuse, email continues to be the main digital artery that workers believe is important to their jobs," the report's authors opine.

Perhaps more important, online tools like email and the web are now considered more important to American workers than the ordinary phone call. Just 35 per cent of respondents said a landline phone was very important to doing their jobs, and just 24 per cent said they couldn't do without a mobile phone.

"For most office workers now, life on the job means life online," the survey proclaims.

Incidentally, however, only 4 per cent of survey participants said social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter were essential to their jobs. Just how much time said survey participants spend on such networks each day, on the other hand, was not a topic of the survey. ®

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