Face-to-face communication is importantWhile emailing and instant messaging is becoming increasingly popular between staff in the workplace, HR staff and managers should keep in mind the importance of face-to-face internal communication.

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, who said that not everyone wishes to communicate online and that its popularity could "blind" some managers to the absence of some groups and individuals on the networks.

"An awareness of the age and gender effects in internet usage may alert managers to the need to be inclusive in their communication, using personal as well as computer-mediated channels," she added.

However, Ms Spellman noted that younger managers may be better placed than their older counterparts to take advantage of the boom in online communication.

Recent research from Hirescores.com shows that 20 per cent of managers admit to handling their office politics via MSN or through work emails, but 31 per cent state that tackling issues online can sometimes make things worse.