A new survey reveals that men prefer instant messaging to communicate with colleagues and customers away from the workplace while women gravitate towards social media.
Business communications company Fonality has released its Working from Home report, which saw market research agency Pure Profile survey 1000 Australians aged 18 to 64 about their preferred work communication channels.
According to the survey 25% of men say they would use IM for work compared to 18% of women but 21% of women tend to use social media for work-related matters while only 16% of men do the same.
On average 15% of Australians use a mobile phone to access work emails with the younger generation more likely to do so than their older counterparts, 22% of Generations Y and X access work emails on their mobiles compared to 6% of baby boomers.
Members of Generation Y are the most avid users of IM and video conferencing, reporting figures of 46% and 15% respectively.
Generation X is most comfortable using social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for work purposes.
The survey highlights a shift away from fixed line phone connections to mobile-only connections, a significant trend for home-based businesses.
A third of people aged 55 to 64 are most likely to use fixed lines for work-related phone calls from home and 74% of those aged 18 to 34 prefer to use mobiles.
According to Marc Englaro, managing director of Fonality Australia, the survey demonstrates the extent to which office communications have evolved beyond email and landline calls.
“There are clear generational and gender preferences businesses have to cater for if they want to maximise their workforce productivity,” Englaro says.
According to Englaro younger generations are typically more content to complete work after hours – using various communication channels – because they are more comfortable with technology generally.
“Small to medium sized businesses (can) benefit from a cost-effective solution that allows employees to use communication channels such as email, mobile, VoIP and instant messaging regardless of their location,” he says.
“With many young Australians going mobile-only support for smart phones also presents a way to attract and retain talent in today’s competitive labour market.”
Anglaro says start-ups are typically more aligned to communication technology because the business often consists of a small group of people working long hours and from different locations.
He believes start-ups have an opportunity to maintain a high level of communication after hours because there is no pre-existing model dictating when staff should and shouldn’t be contactable.