The growth in digital media is transforming how work is getting done, with positive effects on employees’ professional lives, including their ability to find work, learn and develop professional skills, and achieve a work-life balance, according to new research.

The Shaping the Future Implications of Digital Media for Society, which was published by the World Economic Forum and conducted in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson, surveyed more than 5,000 digital users from five global markets: Brazil, China, Germany, South Africa and the U.S.

More than half (56%) of respondents said digital media has transformed the way they work, while 41% agreed that social media improves their work effectiveness. Half of the respondents agreed that digital media has improved the quality of their professional lives.

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“The increased use of digital media is changing people’s everyday lives and the way they connect and collaborate, especially at work,” said Ravin Jesuthasan, a managing director at Willis Towers Watson and co-author of the study.

“The digitization of content and data, as well as new digital communication technologies, have opened up novel opportunities for where, when, how and by whom work gets done. This is also changing the nature of the employment relationship.”

The study also found that two-thirds of respondents believe digital media has improved their ability to do their work, learn and develop professionally, and collaborate with colleagues.

Around six in 10 agreed that digital media has improved their ability to maintain balance between work and personal life, build relationships with professional contacts and find work.

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The impact of increased digital media depending greatly on where the respondents lived. Only about one-quarter of respondents from Germany and the U.S. said they think digital media has improved the quality of their social, professional and overall lives.

In contrast, about two-thirds of respondents in Brazil and China said the same, and respondents in South Africa were roughly divided on the issue.

“We are still striving to understand the implications of digital technology in our professional lives and the impact this will have on businesses,” said Sarita Nayyar, managing director of the World Economic Forum USA.

“As we have a better grasp, businesses will be in a much stronger position to leverage digital media to its fullest for both their organizations and employees.”

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