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Technology has changed the way we communicate, socialize and do business. Every day, millions of employees in the US use some form of technology as part of their daily work and personal activities, contributing to the growth and success of the companies that they work for.

Technology has also enabled the US employee to do more, efficiently and often unhindered by the confines of the traditional brick and mortar perimeter. At the same time, surely, technology has impacted employee feelings, working conditions, attitudes and happiness.

Many surveys that focus on small and medium businesses do not always take into account what employees are thinking or believe. And it’s worth doing so from time to time because their tune is not always the same as that which management is humming!

Employees provide a very interesting insight into the world of work – what are they going through, how satisfied they are at work, what is troubling them, how they use social media, how they connect to their company networks, how they feel about their management teams, their confidence in protection from cybercrime, and much more.

With this in mind, GFI Software™ commissioned a scientific study that provides a profile of the American small business employee and looks at their opinions on a number of pertinent issues affecting not only their lives but also the businesses they work for.

This survey was conducted online by the GfK Group (formerly Knowledge Networks) using sample from the probability-based KnowledgePanel®, which is designed to be representative of all adults in the United States. The survey was conducted September 28 to October 7, 2013, with screening that yielded 1,119 U.S. adults who work full-time at firms with 2-99 employees and who use a desktop or laptop computer at work.

The Findings

The survey highlights a number of interesting facts about their attitudes towards work and their use of technology and, of equal importance, their views of technology within a working environment.

While the majority of employees believe that mobile computing has improved their lives because they can work from anywhere, they are also concerned about privacy and data protection.

Six in 10 respondents would remove all their personal information from the Internet at the snap of a finger, if they could; and 87 percent admit they feel at least a little risk of becoming the victim of identity theft or another crime while using work computer systems.

Employees in small and medium businesses in the US (81 percent) are also satisfied with their job overall. This percentage is higher than the 68 percent of all full-time US employees surveyed in a Rutgers University Heidrich Center for Workforce Development study of January 2013.

Employees’ views on the management team in the business they work may also indicate the importance of good management. Six in 10 gave their management team an A or B, with only 3 percent giving a failing grade to their bosses.

Here are a few other key findings:

  • 33 percent of respondents said they use social networks for personal reasons while they are working; 18 percent of these respondents admitted it makes them less productive.
  • Nearly all respondents with employer-owned mobile computing devices said they use them for things not related to work; 22 percent said they do so often, 38 percent sometimes and 30 percent rarely.
  • 37 percent of small business employees surveyed said they use Facebook at least daily.
  • 43 percent of small business employees have connected to their work networks remotely using a mobile computing device.
  • 7 percent acknowledge they have at some point lost a mobile computing device that contained company data.
  • Only 36 percent of respondents said their employer’s computers are set up to block them from visiting certain websites.

Overall, the GFI survey pictures a workforce in small businesses to be happy, confident with technology and displaying attitudes towards technology that reflect a broad acceptance of mobility and dependency on it to do their job.

To see the full results, questions and methodology used in the survey click here.