Headlines: June 11th, 2004

The demand for instant communication is adding to workplace stress, causing anger among colleagues and strangers alike, and is proving to be a distraction for all. In short, office workers are becoming increasingly SAD. The underlying resentment of communication intrusion and the emergence of the SAD worker, were uncovered in a survey by the University of Surrey Social and Market Research team.The survey was commissioned by Siemens Communications to find out whether new technology had changed patterns of acceptable business etiquette.The researchers found that office workers get frustrated, stressed and annoyed when they can’t reach somebody; and yet recent distractions caused by intrusive communications to their own or their colleagues’ meetings and work. Commenting on the findings, Professor Michael Warren, University of Surrey said: “I’m afraid the research survey shows that we all want to have our cake and eat it. There is a clear need to establish workplace rules and for management to take a lead in setting examples and standards for each organization. Suggestions for addressing the issue include changing mobile voicemail to request text for urgent messages and breaking out of the e-mail jail by talking to colleagues.