Workers who tweet, chat, like, and Skype on the job are among the most productive, according to new academic research from Warwick University in the U.K.
The advent of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and smartphones means people are connected in a multitude of ways leading some critics to believe it is affecting workers’ concentration span and ability to analyse in detail, with some firms even banning the use of social media.
But a study of leading technology companies in the UK, Finland and Germany by Professor Joe Nandhakumar has found that the myriad ways of communicating allows people to be more flexible about when and where they work and more effective.
Nandhakumar said: “We found that the ubiquitous digital connectivity altered workers’ sense of ‘presence’ and helped rather than hindered the effective completion of collective tasks.”
This study also indicates that such digital connectivity afforded workers much greater latitude and control over their timing and location of their work.
Professor Nandhakumar found that employees who used various types of social media and digital modes of communication were more creative and collaborative at work, and thus more productive.
Professor Nandhakumar added: “The amount of information now at the fingertips of the modern office worker should not mean they are overloaded, but empowered.
Evidence from our research suggests that knowledge workers who were able to successfully deal with the timing and sequence of their ‘presence’ and responses in a digitally mediated workplace were better able to organise the flow of work through digital media.”
Companies and organisations should make sure their workers can control the flow of information, turning it on and off when needed.
There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that instead of adopting uncritically popular views of digital connectivity as something disruptive, organisations should instead investigate further,” said Professor Nandhakumar, who has worked with Ford and Nestle.
They should explore how employees can be better equipped and empowered to manage their time and productivity in this environment.”