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UK Workers Lack Digital Etiquette

Posted: 13th Mar, 2006 By: MarkJ
Telewest has published the results of its Digital Etiquette study, which found that 5% of people consider it rude if they haven't received an email response within 5 minutes of sending one!:

The study, entitled ‘Digital Etiquette', revealed that UK office workers are confused as to how and when they should use digital communication tools. Many people felt instant messaging (IM) and text messages (SMS) were simply not appropriate for certain aspects of office work. Less than one in ten respondents felt SMS and IM were appropriate for HR issues, financial discussions and liaising with senior management.

There also appears to be a lack of tolerance when using modern communication tools. Two out of every five people would expect a response to an SMS within an hour before considering it rude, and almost a quarter of people would expect a response within five minutes to an IM.

The study also revealed that different age groups have different perceptions of what constitutes digital etiquette. More than a third of 16-24 year olds and a quarter of 25-34 year olds feel it necessary to include icons in their digital communication to appropriately set the tone. This compares with less than one in ten 55-64 year olds and 18% of people nationally that use icons.


Some 1,400 office workers aged 16-64 across the UK were surveyed. We tend to find it more annoying when, in the middle of an e-mail conversation, the other party goes off on holiday and doesn’t tell you or leave a forwarded contact.
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