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Workers in the United States say email and the Internet are the most important communication and information tools they use, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.

Some 61% of workers who have online access say email is very important for doing their job, and 54% say the Internet is very important.

Far fewer workers describe landline phones (35%) or cell phones/smartphones (24%) as very important for doing their job.

Just 4% say social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn are very important to their work.

Workers in office-based occupations are three times as likely as those in non-office-based occupations to say email is very important for doing their job (78% vs. 25%); office-based workers are also more than twice as likely as non-office-based workers to say the Internet is very important for doing their job (68% vs. 26%).

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a September 2014 survey of 535 people in the US who have Internet access and are employed (29% in professional roles; 14%, managers; 14%, clerical/office/sales; 13%, service work; 7%, skilled trades; 5%, semi-skilled; 3%, business owners; 15% ,other).

Productivity

  • 46% of respondents say the Internet has had no impact on their work productivity.
  • Another 46% say the Internet has made them more productive at work.
  • Just 7% say the Internet has made them less productive at work.

Effects

  • 51% of respondents say the Internet, email, and cell phones have increased their communication with people outside of their company.
  • 35% say these tools have increased the amount of time they spend working.
  • Office-based workers have felt the effects of the Internet, email, and cell phones more deeply: They are more than twice as likely as non-office-based workers to say these tools have given them more flexibility in the hours they work (51% compared with 19%) but also have increased the amount of time spent working (47% compared with 18%).

Work Outside the Workplace

  • 59% of of respondents say they work outside of their workplace at least occasionally, with 21% reporting they work outside of their workplace every day or almost every day.
  • Of those respondents who work outside of the workplace at least occasionally, half say the Internet and cell phones are very important to allowing them to do their job remotely, and another 24% say these tools are somewhat important.

About the research: The report was based on data from a September 2014 survey of 535 people in the US who have Internet access and are employed (29% in professional roles; 14%, managers; 3%, business owners; 14%, clerical/office/sales; 13%, service work; 7%, skilled trades; 5%, semi-skilled; 15%, other).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji