Articles / Recommended Reading

Email and the Internet Are the Dominant Technological Tools in American Workplaces

Email and the Internet Are the Dominant Technological Tools in American Workplaces

Kristen Purcell and Lee Rainee

Pew Research Internet Project | December 30, 2014

Digital technology is ubiquitous in American workplaces. Computers have colonized substantial portions of work activities from organizing the shipment of washing machines to assisting surgeons in operating rooms. There is a drumbeat of commentary about the impact digital tools has had. Some see these tools as increasing productivity and offering more flexibility for America’s workforce; others say they decrease productivity and pressure workers to be constantly connected to their workplace.

Over the past 15 years, the Pew Research Center has asked internet users a variety of questions about the role of the internet in their work lives and the impact the internet, email, mobile phones and other tools have had in their workplaces. This report updates that work and focuses on these questions: How important are the internet, email and cell phones to the work people do and how do these tools impact things like productivity and time spent working?

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