The use of social networking tools as part of everyday working life has led to an increase in efficiency, according to an independent market report released by AT&T. The pan-European survey of more than 2,500 people in five countries, conducted by Dynamic Markets, shows that of those employees using social networking tools in the workplace, 65 percent say that it has made them and/or their colleagues more efficient. In addition, 46 percent say that it has sparked ideas and creativity for them personally.

The top five social networking tools being used by organizations across Europe are:

  1. Companies' own collaboration sites on intranets (39 percent)
  2. Internal forums within the company (20 percent)
  3. Company-produced video material shared on intranets (16 percent)
  4. Online social networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. (15 percent)
  5. External collaboration sites on the Web and internal blogging sites (both 11 percent)

The study shows that 65 percent of employees surveyed in Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands say their company has adopted social networking as part of their working culture. The research also reveals that the rate of adoption is most popular in Germany, leading the way at 72 percent while Great Britain lags behind with 59 percent.

The independent market research was commissioned by AT&T in order to gain a greater understanding of how organizations are currently using social networking technologies. The company has published a white paper titled The Business Impacts of Social Networking, which outlines the challenges organizations face when taking advantage of new technologies that will benefit their organizations.

When asked, 74 percent of European employees think there are benefits to using social networks and online communities in the workplace. Increasing an individual's knowledge and giving access to solutions to problems (both 38 percent) were the two main benefits highlighted. Harnessing the collective knowledge of employees, customers and suppliers (36 percent) and stimulating team building and better internal collaboration (32 percent) were also mentioned by those employees who have first-hand experience of using social networks at work on a daily basis.

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