Number of American Workers Online Increases

Nearly seven in 10 American workers now have access to the Internet at work, compared to less than five in 10 one year ago, according to a survey by Wirthlin Worldwide commissioned by Xylo, Inc.

Wirthlin Worldwide conducts the study six times a year for Xylo, and it surveyed 1,001 U.S. adults over the age of 18 during from Aug. 3 to Aug. 6, 2001. The August survey found that men and women seem to use the Internet equally; but among younger age groups (18 to 34 years old), women are 20 percent more likely to use it at work than men, and men are 21 percent more likely than women to use it for personal reasons. When using the Internet at work for personal reasons, men and women also seem to derive different benefits from the practice — more women say that it makes them happier and less stressed, while more men say that it helps them be better workers.

Access to the Internet at work continues to grow, as 66 percent of American workers now report having access in the workplace, compared to only 44 percent of the respondents in the 2000 survey. Almost all (97 percent) of this year’s respondents reported that personal use of the Internet at work has no negative impact (up from 86 percent in 2000) while more than 50 percent continue to think that personal use at work has a positive impact (54 percent). Two-thirds of employees now think the Internet boosts their productivity at work, a 21 percent increase from last year’s 46 percent. This year’s survey also found that people who use the Internet on a daily basis are more likely to say that it enhances productivity, compared to people who use it only once or twice a week (86 percent vs. 49 percent). Of those who use the Internet at work, 64 percent use it for personal reasons, an increase from 49 percent last year.


Internet Access at Work
2001 2000
Have Internet access at work 66% 44%
Net access has no negative
impact on productivity
97% 86%
Net access at work boosts
productivity
67% 46%
Source: Wirthlin Worldwide/Xylo, Inc.

One general general trend uncovered by the survey is that people who frequently use the Internet at work for personal reasons are more likely to report that it has a positive impact, such as making them happier and less stressed, or helping them do a better job. Seventy-two percent of those who use it several times a day, compared to 48 percent of those who use it once or twice a week, say it has a positive impact.

More men than women report that personal use of the Internet has a positive impact (59 percent vs. 47 percent). Women, however, are more likely to say that it makes them happier and less stressed (31 percent vs. 24 percent). In contrast, 35 percent of men and only 16 percent of women say that the practice helps them do a better job for their companies.

Almost half of all married adults report that using the Internet at work for personal reasons has a positive impact (46 percent of married adults and 44 percent of married parents). Singles are even more likely to appreciate the benefits of personal use of the Internet at work — 72 percent of singles and 85 percent of single parents say that it has a positive impact.

The August Wirthlin/Xylo survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent. Sixty-five percent of the 1,001 respondents qualified for the survey by being employed.

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