New Stress Afflicts Office Workers

Dennis Faas's picture

We face stress just about everywhere. Bills, meetings, bullies beating up our kids -- there seems to be no end to the pressure everyday North Americans routinely face. That's why it's not so surprising that a recent report has found that one in three office workers suffers from a unique form: stress caused by email.

Although the study was been performed upon British subjects by Glasgow and Paisley universities in the United Kingdom, office (and even home) workers around the world can relate to its findings. According to researchers, as emails pile up, so does the frustration. It can eventually lead to physical and mental illness, and for companies, lowered production.

Karen Renaud, Glasgow University's lead researcher and computer scientist, argues that "Email is the thing that now causes us the most problems in our working lives". Although few of us think of it, "Our survey indicates the astonishing extent to which email is embedded in our day-to-day lives. Females, in particular, tended to more pressured to respond than males," she said. (Source:

The Brits behind the study surveyed over 200 office workers in order to obtain their conclusions. Some 34 per cent admitted an addiction to their inbox, viewing its contents at least once every fifteen minutes. Almost all of the remaining participants (64 per cent) admitted that they check their email once an hour. (Source:

Most critical is the admission by a third of workers that this incessant desire (and in fact, need) to check emails was a source of stress in their everyday lives. 28 per cent of those surveyed admitted a demand, as part of their employment, to reply to these messages post-haste.

In the end, it proves our busy-bee work environments are no place for cool cucumbers. Of the 200 surveyed workers, just 38 per cent felt that they could wait a day or longer to reply to email messages.

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