E-mail A Health Hazard?

January 12, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Turns out e-mail may be hazardous to your health after all.

Experts from report that workers’ blood pressure shot up when they got an e-mail from their boss, or if the e-mails were written in an “aggressive” tone, according to a BBC News report.

A group of 48 volunteers had their blood pressure tested before and after they looked at a variety of e-mails, both from colleagues of equal status and those of higher status – and written in a neutral or aggressive tone.

Howard Taylor, one of the researchers that conducted the study said: “Although participants’ blood pressure rose to some degree after reading the threatening e-mail and the e-mail from a superior, the highest increase was seen in those reading an e-mail which was both threatening and from a higher status colleague.”

Researchers concluded that it would be “counterproductive” for managers to write aggressively-worded e-mails to their staff.

“E” nough?

British phone company Phones 4u has gone so far as to restrict internal e-mails to one “briefing” e-mail sent to each of the company’s 2,500 employees every morning. Figuring that the move would save each employee about three hours of wasted e-mail searching per day, Phones 4u estimates a potential savings of about $1.6 million a month (see British Firm Cries “Uncle” to E-mail Deluge ).

Professor Cary Cooper, who lectures in organizational psychology at, told BBC News Online that face-to-face meetings were best for important instructions or news. According to the report, Cooper said, “E-mail is not a social support for us anymore – it’s more like a source of stress.”