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Abstract

The use of email by employees at the Danwood Group was studied and it was found that the interrupt effect from emails is more than generally believed. Employees allowed themselves to be interrupted almost as frequently as telephone calls and the common reaction to the arrival of an email is to react almost as quickly as they would respond to telephone calls. This means the interrupt effect is comparable with that of a telephone call. The recovery time from an email interruption was found to be significantly less than the published recovery time for telephone calls. It is to be concluded, therefore, that while Email is still less disruptive than the telephone, the way the majority of users handle their incoming email has been shown to give far more interruption than expected. By analysing the data captured the authors have been able to create recommendations for a set of guidelines for email usage within the workplace that will increase employee efficiency by reducing the prominence of interruptions, restricting the use of email-to-all messages, setting-up the email application to display three lines of the email and to check for email less frequently. It is recommended that training should be given to staff on how to use email more effectively to increase employee productivity.
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... Today's companies well understand that interrupting employees through too many emails has a cost: it can lead to stress and frustration (Mark, Gudith, & Klocke, 2008), as well as to decreasing work efficiency (Jackson, Dawson, & Wilson, 2001). Indeed, a large amount of the emails generated within organizations is not business critical (Sumecki et al., 2011). ...
... Even if outside the focus of this research, it is important to remember that, although spammers do not significantly alter the network structure, their presence can still generate organizational costs -for example they can cause interruptions or disturbance to workflows (Jackson et al., 2001;Mark et al., 2008). ...
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This paper investigates the research question if senders of large amounts of irrelevant or unsolicited information - commonly called "spammers" - distort the network structure of social networks. Two large social networks are analyzed, the first extracted from the Twitter discourse about a big telecommunication company, and the second obtained from three years of email communication of 200 managers working for a large multinational company. This work compares network robustness and the stability of centrality and interaction metrics, as well as the use of language, after removing spammers and the most and least connected nodes. The results show that spammers do not significantly alter the structure of the information-carrying network, for most of the social indicators. The authors additionally investigate the correlation between e-mail subject line and content by tracking language sentiment, emotionality, and complexity, addressing the cases where collecting email bodies is not permitted for privacy reasons. The findings extend the research about robustness and stability of social networks metrics, after the application of graph simplification strategies. The results have practical implication for network analysts and for those company managers who rely on network analytics (applied to company emails and social media data) to support their decision-making processes.
... It refers to "any distraction that makes an individual stop his/her planned activity to respond to the interruption's initiator." (Jackson, Dawson, & Wilson, 2001). Distraction is defined as an "intermittent interruptionexternallygenerated, randomly occurring, discrete event that breaks continuity of cognitive focus on a primary task" (Corragio, 1990). ...
... Switching tasks requires time to become engaged in the next task, producing a time loss, especially for complex and/or unfamiliar tasks (Rennecker & Godwin, 2005). Almost all interruptions are disturbing (Jackson et al., 2001), with only a few increasing productivity (Mano & Mesch, 2010). Information overload has an inverted U-shaped relationship with performance (Yin et al., 2018). ...
Article
Workplace technology interruption and distraction are complex to analyze. In completing their daily tasks, employees receive a plethora of emails, text messages on their smartphones, and app notifications from both professional and personal counterparts. These parallel communications pose new managerial opportunities and workplace challenges. While such microbreaks foster communicative potential and information access, past research has discussed the issue of technology overload. The present article contributes to parallel communications regarding digital transformation in the workplace. Based on an original dataset of 369 employees, we examine the issue of technology distraction and interruption in the workplace. The results show that parallel communications positively influence job performance and negatively affect self-regulation and work engagement. The findings enrich the literature on digital transformation. They have practical implications for managers and firms implementing specific arrangements to nurture and embrace successful digital ecosystems.
... Workers who have retained segmentation between work and home do so by purposely leaving work behind and not giving out their personal cellphone (Adkins & Premeaux, 2014). Others determine personal boundaries of time and identify blocks of time when they check email and work messages to help manage interruptions (Jackson, Dawson, &Wilson, 2001). Without personal boundaries, responding to work needs after-hours reduces the opportunity for leisure and recovery when not at work (Sonnentag, Binnewies, & Mojza, 2008). ...
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During the second week of March 2020, work shifted from the county extension office to home during the Coronavirus pandemic. During COVID-19, workers were shifted into new all-digital work environments without establishing boundaries that melded the work and home environment into one (Katsabian, 2020). While this shift to remote work was possible due to technology, work-life boundaries became even blurrier. Professionals who do not have good boundaries find themselves always connected to both spheres of work and home because of their digital devices (Richardson & Rothstein, 2008). OSU Extension professionals not only made the switch to remote work from home, but they had to adjust to an all-digital 4-H program delivery at the same time. By rapidly shifting to digital work, 4-H professionals had to adapt to this change. The Change Style Indicator (Musselwhite & Ingraham, 1998) assessment classifies a person as a Conserver, Pragmatist, or Originator. Conservers prefer gradual change. Pragmatists desire change that serves a function. Originators are the most adept to change and favor quicker, more expansive change. These preferences to change would have impacted their approach to dealing with the pandemic and remote work. This study explored the adaptation of county-based OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development professionals to an all-digital environment during the virtual work period of COVID-19. Specific objectives included: (a) to describe the population by their Change Style Preferences, (b) to describe the adaptations to the all-digital work environment, (c) to describe the types of digital tools used, (d) to describe the types of digital skills learned, (e) to describe the types of digital youth development programming implemented, to describe the types of digital youth development strategies generated, and (f) to explore these selected variables (a-e) and their relationship to the Change Style Preferences. Data were gathered in two parts. The Change Style Indicator assessment was used to sort how each employee ordered along the change preference scale in part one. A follow-up survey assessed adaptations to remote work, digital tools, skills, programs, and strategies used by staff during the all-digital period. The population of 98 Ohio 4-H professionals completed both parts of the survey. There were several key findings found during the remote work period during COVID-19. Over half of the population had a Change Style Preference of a Conserver. Change Style Preferences had little or no relationships with how 4-H professionals adapted to this all-digital environment. Colleagues indicated that they depended upon each other for support. Almost all of the 4-H professionals used time during the spring to learn new skills or improve existing skills. Staff also waited to alter 4-H programming due to the constant changes related to the pandemic. A majority of the respondents indicated that they could reach new youth audiences and collaborate with other colleagues because of remote work. Ohio 4-H professionals would continue using digital youth development strategies beyond the pandemic. This research played a unique role in capturing an all-digital 4-H programming period when there was no in-person programming or access to the physical office. The shift to a digital-only environment was one of the most significant changes to the work environment for Ohio 4-H Professionals and around the world. The focus on this period does not limit future research opportunities. Technology does not go away in the future, as new digital innovations will replace the present ones.
... Physicians experience frequent interruptions of various types in a broad range of settings during tasks related to patient care [12]. Interruptions include human communication and electronic ones [13,14]. Emergency physicians and primary-care physicians are interrupted on average 9.7 and 3.9 times per hour, respectively [15]. ...
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Background Diagnostic error is a major source of patient suffering. Researchshows that physicians experience frequent interruptions while being engaged with patients and indicate that diagnostic accuracy may be impaired as a result. Since most studies in the field are observational, there is as yet no evidence suggesting a direct causal link between being interrupted and diagnostic error. Theexperiments reported in this article were intended to assess this hypothesis. Methods Three experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that interruptions hurt diagnostic reasoning and increase time on task. In the first experiment (N = 42), internal medicine residents, while diagnosing vignettes of actual clinical cases were interrupted halfway with a task unrelated to medicine, solving word-spotting puzzles and anagrams. In the second experiment (N = 78), the interruptions were medically relevant ones. In the third experiment (N = 30), we put additional time pressure on the participants. In all these experiments, a control group diagnosed the cases without interruption. Dependent variables were diagnostic accuracy and amount of time spent on the vignettes. Results In none of the experiments interruptions were demonstrated to influence diagnostic accuracy. In Experiment 1: Mean of interrupted group was 0.88 (SD = 0.37) versus non- interrupted group 0.91 (SD = 0.32). In Experiment 2: Mean of interrupted group was 0.95 (SD = 0.32) versus non-interrupted group 0.94 (SD = 0.38). In Experiment 3: Mean of interrupted group was 0.42 (SD = 0.12) versus non-interrupted group 0.37 (SD = 0.08). Although interrupted residents in all experiments needed more time to complete the diagnostic task, only in Experiment 2, this effect was statistically significant. Conclusions These three experiments, taken together, failed to demonstrate negative effects of interruptions on diagnostic reasoning. Perhaps physicians who are interrupted may still have sufficient cognitive resources available to recover from it most of the time.
... Furthermore, technology enables many ways of being creative with access to more than one medium for creativity. However, it is important to take note that sometimes digital disruptions can distract individuals' attention, preventing them from being creative and participating in idea-generating tasks (Jackson, Dawson, & Wilson, 2001). This was also evident in the qualitative data where participants remarked that one "gets lazy in generating new thoughts", as the abundance of ideas on the Internet prevents original thinking. ...
Chapter
The first, second and third industrial revolutions gave humanity steam power, electricity, internet and connectivity, respectively. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a seismic shift that brings with it a set of radically new technologies. Smart technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, algorithms, the internet of things, 3D printing, bioprinting, gene editing and autonomous vehicles are transforming the world at an incredible speed (Kruger, The Citizen (Gauteng), 2020; Guoping et al., Chin Geogr Sci 27(4):626–637, 2017). The world is marching into a new period characterised by unprecedented developments in digital technology, physical technology and biological technology and the convergence of their applications. As an agent of economic and social change, robotisation has elicited considerable concern about technological unemployment (Pol and Reveley, Psychosociolog Issues Hum Resour Manag 5(2):169–186, 2017). Coping behaviour is shown to be logically compatible with rationality and well suited to dealing with fear of joblessness. It is argued that coping strategies are needed to assist employees in dealing with the threats that robotisation poses to their future job security. The aim of this chapter is to conceptualise a resilience-based coping strategy for disruptive change in the 4IR (Tan, The fourth industrial revolution: coping with disruptive change. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 2016; Tan and Wu, Public policy implications of the fourth industrial revolution for Singapore. RSIS, Singapore, 2017). This chapter also suggests possible strategies for both organisations and governments to cope with the disruptive changes brought about by the 4IR.
... Furthermore, technology enables many ways of being creative with access to more than one medium for creativity. However, it is important to take note that sometimes digital disruptions can distract individuals' attention, preventing them from being creative and participating in idea-generating tasks (Jackson, Dawson, & Wilson, 2001). This was also evident in the qualitative data where participants remarked that one "gets lazy in generating new thoughts", as the abundance of ideas on the Internet prevents original thinking. ...
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Managing the associated consequences of the increasing demand for organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) is one of the common phenomena of concerns among professionals and scholars in the fields of Industrial/Organisational Psychology and Human Resource Management. Emotional stress, job creep and work-family conflict occupy prominent positions on the list of risks and costs associated with OCB. The prevalence of stress in the Industry 4.0 work environment, for instance, is enormous, and its causes are linked to personal and organisational factors. Currently, corporate organisations hanker for productivity, performance and profitability more than before, and market competition is increasing. Meanwhile, Human Resources (HR) remains an important asset for businesses to survive and exceed the expectations of stakeholders, especially customers and investors. Hence, employees’ ability to cope with the inevitable organisational pressure is sacrosanct, as employers seek to employ and retain only individuals that are endowed with high levels of psychological capital (PsyCap). PsyCap is therefore believed to be an effective mechanism for coping with the associated consequences of the increasing demand for OCB.
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