social media conceptEven as almost half of employees think that social tools at work increase productivity, nearly one-third of companies have reported that they are uncertain of the true value of social tools and thus restrict their use, according to new Microsoft research. The survey found that 39 percent of employees feel that there isn’t enough workplace collaboration and 40 percent think that social tools help foster that collaboration. Over 30 percent of employees reported that they were even willing to use personal funds to purchase social tools.

The research also focused on social media perceptions based on region, sector, and gender. Regionally, Asia Pacific was the area most likely to equate increased social tools with higher productivity. Asia Pacific and Latin America were found to host the highest proportion of workers who use social tools at work. North American and European workers were reported to be the slowest adopters of social tools.

Employer-imposed restrictions on social tools were most prominently found in the financial services and government sectors. Indeed, 74 percent of financial services professionals and 72 percent of government workers are more likely than other fields to report the restrictions are due to security concerns. Men are more likely than women to relate higher productivity with social tool usage while women are more likely to feel that their company restricts the use of social tools.

“Just as email accelerated the pace of business in the ’90s, enterprise social will be the driver of greater agility and transformation in the 21st century workplace,” said Kurt DelBene , President, Microsoft Office Division. “As we look ahead at how collaboration and communications continue to evolve, we believe the tools people use today — email, instant messaging, voice, videoconferencing, social — will come together and be deeply integrated into apps in ways that will speed collaboration and truly transform the way people work.”


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