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Mobile phones, email and text are becoming far too intrusive in people's lives and adding to workplace stress, according to some blindingly obvious research from the University of Surrey.

Boffins found that the incessant demand for instant communication heightens stress in the workplace, makes people angry and can prove to be an annoying distraction.

Those who took part in the survey, which was commissioned by Siemens Communications, were hacked off with mobiles ringing during meetings or people talking on their phones in public. One of those who took part admitted that they'd spent four hours on the phone on the train and accepted that those next to him "were quite rightly irritated" at his constant jabbering.

While another said: "If you're in a meeting…and someone's phone goes off, it's tut-tutted. It just shouldn’t happen."

And on the matter of phones ringing and bleeping all the time, one worker said: "There's one guy…it's constantly an interruption…it's becoming a disciplinary issue…it's just not acceptable."

Snag is, while people are quite rightly hacked off by annoying distraction of modern communications, many office workers also get frustrated, stressed and annoyed when they can't reach somebody immediately.

"I'm afraid the research survey shows that we all want to have our cake and eat it," said Professor Michael Warren of the University of Surrey.

"We become stressed and impatient when we can't reach someone, and we expect instant responses from co-workers and business contacts. And yet we become annoyed when our own meetings or discussions are, for example, interrupted by a mobile phone."

Instead, the Prof said that new workplace rules need to be developed to provide workers with guidelines about what is acceptable business etiquette. ®

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