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 user 2005-08-03 at 12:14:00 pm Views: 81
  • #12227
    E-mails can seriously damage your IQ
    August 2005
    At this time of an ‘open all hours’ business culture, much is made of how technology increases productivity by enabling workers to be constantly accessible and to work any time anywhere.

    And yet research from one of the world’s leading information technology companies suggests that the advantages of e-mail and related technology can be overstated.

    In fact, far from making workers more productive, constantly checking e-mails and text messages during meetings in the evening and at weekends can significantly diminish employees’ IQ, according to a study commissioned on behalf of Hewlett Packard, the supplier of computers, printers and related products and services.

    Dr Glenn Wilson, reader in personality at London University’s Institute of Psychiatry, carried out a series of tests earlier this year which found that an average worker’s functioning IQ falls ten points when distracted by ringing telephones and incoming e-mails.

    This drop is equal to the effect of missing an entire night’s sleep and more than twice the fall associated with marijuana use.

    Dr Wilson, a psychologist, said that ‘info-mania’, where workers were literally addicted to checking e-mails and text messages at all times, was “a real and widespread phenomenon”.

    If unchecked, he added, it could damage workers’ performance by reducing their mental sharpness. “Companies should encourage a more balanced and appropriate way of working,” he said.

    David Smith, commercial communications manager at HP UK and Ireland, said HP strongly advocated the use of technology to improve productivity, but it encouraged individuals to use it appropriately.

    Among its steps was to urge employees to turn off mobile phones and other comminications devices during meetings, thus removing the urge to check messages, which might in turn distract them from the job in hand.