The internet and cell phones have infiltrated every cranny of American workplaces, and digital technology has transformed vast numbers of American jobs. Work done in the most sophisticated scientific enterprises, entirely new technology businesses, the extensive array of knowledge and media endeavors, the places where crops are grown, the factory floor, and even mom-and-pop stores has been reshaped by new pathways to information and new avenues of selling goods and services. For most office workers now, life on the job means life online.
Pew Research surveyed online a representative sample of adult internet users and asked those who have jobs a series of questions about the role of digital technology in their work lives. This is not a sample representative of all workers. It covers online adults who also have full- or part-time jobs in any capacity.1 The most recent survey data from Pew Research in late 2013 shows that 94% of jobholders are internet users and they work in all kinds of enterprises from technology companies to non-technology firms; from big corporations to small proprietor operations; and from those in urban areas, farms, and places in between…
While commentators worry that digital tools can be a distraction in the workplace, many online workers say that is not the case when it comes to their productivity.
Just 7% of working online adults feel their productivity has dropped because of the internet, email and cell phones, while 46% feel more productive.
Asked about a variety of impacts, notable proportions of these workers say that the internet, email and cell phones:
Expand the number of people outside of their company they communicate with—51% of these internet-using workers say this.
Allow them more flexibility in the hours they work—39% of online workers say this.
Increase the amount of hours they work—35% of online workers say this.
Each of these effects is felt more among Office-Based workers than among traditionally blue collar, Non-Office-Based employees…
For American workers who use the internet, email and the internet top the list of tech tools needed to do their jobs, while landline phones rate higher in importance than mobile phones.
Six in ten (61%) American workers who use the internet say email is “very important” for doing their job, and 54% say the same about the internet. Far fewer workers describe landline phones (35%) or cell phones and smartphones (24%) as “very important.” Just 4% say social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn are “very important” to their work.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Technology’s Impact on Workers | Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.