Overall 46% of respondents said using social media in the workplace increased their productivity, including 34% of respondents in the U.S. and 35% in the U.K.; interestingly, much higher proportions agreeing with this statement were seen in countries like China (84%), India (71%), and Turkey (71%).
By industry, unsurprisingly people in media and travel and hospitality were most likely to agree that social media boosts productivity (both at 52%). More surprising was the fact that 51% of employees in heavy industries like manufacturing and mining also agreed -- equal to the proportions of IT and telecom employees. Meanwhile 45% of retail and financial services employees said social media increases productivity, and just 37% of government employees.
In terms of applications, 68% of the information workers polled said they use social media to communicate with colleagues, while 50% said they use it to share or review documents, and 47% said they use it to communicate with customers. Smaller numbers said they use it to grow their professional network (36%), promote a work-related initiative (31%), communicate with vendors (31%), find an expert or information from within their own company (29%), or research their customers (24%).
Despite this, only 37% of the employees surveyed said their companies understand the importance of social tools, and only 31% said their managers encourage them to use social tools for collaboration. In addition, 47% said their companies’ management limits social media in the workplace because of concerns about employees sharing sensitive information, while 44% cited management concerns about lost productivity. 41% said using social media in the workplace is frowned upon, and 32% said they know someone who has gotten into trouble for doing so.