More than four out of 10 Americans use instant messaging (IM), and about 11 million use it at work but have mixed feelings about its capability to encourage productivity and foster collaboration, according to a survey recently released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

In the survey, 68 per cent of those who use IM at work say it is a mixed blessing but mostly a positive experience, while 11 per cent say they can’t live without it. But 10 per cent said they wish it would go away.

When asked if IM helps improve teamwork, 40 per cent said it did and 50 per cent said it saves time on various tasks. But more than one-quarter of respondents said IM had no impact on saving time.

In addition, 47 per cent said IM provides moments of relief from the daily grind, while 11 per cent said it has added stress to their lives. The survey was conducted in February and involved 2,204 adults.