Josh's INET independent study, Spring 2006

My semester-long journal guiding all my readers through the independent study I am doing as part of the Internet Studies minor with Professor Hickey at Brandeis.

Name:
Location: Waltham, Massachusetts, United States

April 02, 2006

Statistics of IMing at Work (in the UK!)

The State of IM at Work

Similar to the article discussed in the last post, this one begins by stating that companies and their managers are not prepared for the legal and security problems that can be caused by the use of IMs, especially at work. While this article in particular focuses on IM usage within the United Kingdom, the content remains accurate for the US as well. The majority of organizations in the UK are unprepared when it comes to dealing with the potential security and management issues associated with the increase in IM use at the workplace.

Everyone knows the benefits of IMing at work: improving productivity, increasing the speed of decision making, and increasing the efficiency of communication in the workplace. It is true that most IMs at work are constructive. However, 3% of work IMs are inappropriate and potentially damaging to businesses. According to the article, IM "should be embraced, but protect your business adequately or the consequences could be severe."

The end of the article reveals some IM statistics that I found interesting as well:

-25% of IM users say they used the technology to say something the boss would not approve of.
-16% admit to using IM to send or receive sensitive company information or documents.
- 25% say they use IM to gossip about colleagues.
- 7 % of workers under 29 use IM to communicate with potential new employers while still at work.
- 25% of younger workers use IM to download music or movies at work.
- 45% of younger workers use IM to send pictures while at work.

Clearly, there is still a decent amount of people who use IM for non-work related issues while at the workplace. Once companies begin to manage how they allow their employees to use IM, perhaps these percentages will decrease.

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