Forthcoming: CHI 2012 Paper on the Role that E-mail Plays in Multitasking

written by Steve on 10 December 2011

The first paper summarizing the results of my two-year collaboration with Gloria Mark and Armand Cardello to empirically measure the impact of e-mail on multitasking in information work has been accepted for publication at the upcoming CHI 2012 conference, to be held in Austin, Texas in May 2012.

UPDATE: I have just learned that our paper has been awarded a CHI 2012 Best Paper Honorable Mention, indicating that it was among the top 5% of all submissions to the conference!

In this publication, we describe our study of how information work is carried out both when e-mail is available and when it has been turned off for a particular worker in a team. After observing the flow of work and collecting sensor data about computer use, physical movement, biometric responses, and social interactions, we found that e-mail is, in fact, responsible for increasing the pace of work and raising levels of stress for information workers.