New research shows that email stress is rising fast. Office workers are becoming increasingly distracted and feel under pressure as the result of ever-more rapidly filling inboxes, according to the Observer .

The research was carried out by Glasgow University computer scientist Karen Renaud. Some 177 people were surveyed, most of whom were academics or involved in creative jobs. The report recommends that people should limit the amount they check their email to just a few times a day, to stop people feeling 'invaded'.

The findings showed that 34 per cent of workers felt 'stressed' by the number of emails they received, feeling obliged to respond quickly, and a further 28 per cent saw them as a source of pressure.

Computer tracking software also found some subjects were checking their inbox as much as 30 or 40 times an hour. Half the participants said they checked more than once an hour and 35 per cent said they did so every 15 minutes - but even they were found by the software to be checking their email more regularly than this.

"Email is the thing that now causes us the most problems in our working lives. It's an amazing tool, but it's got out of hand. Email harries you," said Renaud.

The research also found that those in creative jobs were likely to be worst hit by email stress.

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