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Logic: when workers are chatting, they are not working.

Instant messaging is now a bonafide form of communication. Back in the early days of ICQ and AIM, only those who were computer savvy would use IM on a regular basis. Now, instant messaging is a part nearly every computer and in any workplace environment that allows it. But such a rapid and convenient form of communication is not without its downsides, as the interruptions that incoming messages cost corporations hundreds of billions of dollars annually in lost productivity.

According to research firm Basex, U.S. office workers get interrupted on the job as often as 11 times an hour, costing as much as $588 billion to U.S. business each year, Reuters reports.

"We have more things pulling at us," said Jonathan Spira of Basex, citing examples such as online shopping and planning holiday office parties. "These holiday distractions result in more interruptions. It's certainly a recipe for even less work getting done, no question about it."

Studies show that a typical manager is interrupted six times an hour; cubicle workers are interrupted 70 times daily, with an average time of five minutes needed to resume original tasks. The study by Basex found that 2.8 hours of every workday go to dealing with office distractions.

Oddly enough, another study finds that office workers who constantly have to deal with interruptions from email and phone calls scored lower on IQ tests than workers who smoked marijuana.

Basex is currently conducting another study and is inviting participants to answer a survey on how they use technology on the job.





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