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Instant messaging cuts, doesnt cause office interruptions
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Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:57 am Reply and quote this post
Instant messaging could bea way to reduce interruptions at the workplace, rather than cause them, as ispopularly believed.

A new study has found that instant messaging orIM, is now being often used as a substitute for more disruptive forms ofcommunication like the telephone, e-mail and personal chats.

Thisfinding flies in the face of earlier research which concluded that IM--alongwith phones and e-mail--was the cause of increased interruptions at work andresulted in reduced output.

But according to R Kelly Garrett of OhioState University and co-author of the study, using IM led to more onlineconversations, which were a lot briefer than other forms of communications.We found that the effect of IM is actually positive. People who used IMreported that they felt they were being interrupted less frequently, hesaid.

The study involved 912 people who worked at least 30 hours aweek and used a computer for at least five hours daily.

The key tounlocking IMs effects lies in how people are using the technology,Garrett said.
Instead of dropping in unexpectedly, many are using thetechnology to check in with co-workers to see when they are available. Many alsouse the technology to get quick answers to general questions or to inquire aboutcurrent work tasks instead of engaging in longer face-to-face conversations.

Because of its unique set-up, instant messaging allows users tocontrol how and when they communicate with co-workers.

The findingsof the study have been published in the latest issue of the Journal of ComputerMediated Communication.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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