A recent survey conducted for Microsoft by the research firm Ipsos found that while 61 percent of Asia-Pacific employees report that social tools at work help increase their productivity, 38 percent feel that their companies underestimate the value of the tools, often restricting their use.
The survey conducted on 1,825 employees across the APAC region found that 40 percent of employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces and that social tools could foster better teamwork. According to the survey findings, 57 percent of employees in the Asia-Pacific region would like to be more involved in the decisions to add new technologies and tools at their workplaces, and 45 percent of employees would be willing to spend their own money on social tools to drive company efficiencies.
“Employees were already bringing their own devices into their workplaces but now they are increasingly bringing their own services as well,” said Charlene Li, founder and analyst at Altimeter Group, a firm that studies social media and other technology trends. “Employees expect to work differently, with tools that feel more modern and connected but are also reflective of how they interact in their personal lives. Enterprise social represents a new way to work, and organizations that are embracing these tools are improving collaboration, speeding customer responses and creating competitive advantage.”
The survey found that some employees, however, are facing challenges as their companies are hesitant of implementing social tools. Of the survey respondents, 39 percent said their IT departments can be a barrier to using new tools, with 74 percent naming security concerns and 47 percent citing the fear of productivity loss as the top obstacles in their organizations. As they face these challenges, 23 percent of employees in the Asia-Pacific region say they have ignored their organization’s IT policy to install social tools, and 32 percent say they know someone who has.
The research also found distinct differences between countries, sectors and genders as they relate to the levels of productivity, collaboration and communication tools used in today’s workplace.
The report found that 9 in 10 Indian workers use email, followed closely by 8 in 10 who use IM/video conferencing, and three quarters who use team sites/intranets. In India, usage levels of these tools tend to be higher than most other markets across the board.
The most prevalent social tools in the Indian community are also those recognized by workers as most useful and encouraged in the workplace. External social networks, micro blogging, and internal social networks are restricted by one quarter of Indian organizations.
7 in 10 workers in India feel that security concerns are to blame for the restrictions, while 6 in 10 feel the restrictions are due to productivity loss. However, 71% of respondents feel social tools have actually helped to increase their productivity.
Likewise, 7 in 10 respondents from India feel social tools have increased workplace collaboration, and that their company recognizes the value of providing social tools – more so than in most other countries.