PC failure is more stressful than spending a weekend with the in-laws or being dumped by one's partner, according to Benchmark research commissioned by e-business services company, ICL.
The survey, which polled the opinions of some 200 people, looked at the most common IT problems in the workplace, and the reactions of employees to them.
Of those interviewed, 79 per cent found PC problems to be more stressful than queuing in a bank or waiting to be served in a busy bar, while 38 per cent regarded being stuck in traffic as preferable to computer hassles.
Almost unbelievably, one in eight respondents told researchers that failure to access their PCs at work was worse than a romantic relationship ending, and 68 per cent admitted they'd rather spend a weekend with their partner's parents.
Commenting on the findings, Professor Cary Cooper of the Manchester School of Management called the office computer a "psychological umbilical cord" and advised businesses not to ignore the emotional strain that PC failure could cause. "It (the computer) has become our main means of communication at work, above even the telephone. As a result, when our PCs don't work, or when we are without them, we get very stressed," he explained.
The report also argued that long delays in IT problem-solving are hindering the UK workforce, with one in four respondents claiming to waste between 30 - 60 minutes a day on slow and unreliable technology.
Dave Chapman, IT infrastructure business manager at ICL says the company has devised a 10 point plan to help businesses avoid IT difficulties. He suggests employers adopt a proactive approach to prevent problems from occurring before they impact on staff, and advises that workers be given "quick and easy" access to help desk personnel, who in turn should be "empathetic and courteous". "By adopting our guidelines we believe that companies can reduce employee stress and decrease the number of times people contact PC help desks by between 25 and 30 per cent," he adds.