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WEB IS A FAMILIAR CO-WORKER

More than 70 percent of working Americans now use the Internet on the job - and it has utterly changed how most of them operate. - Researchers from the Pew Internet & American Life Project say it's hard to find workers who use the Internet occasionally. Most use it frequently or not at all.

According to Pew, a Washington-based nonprofit that studies technology's effects, about 60 percent of American workers now use the Internet at least once a day, while 28 percent never use it. Only 11 percent of workers fall into a middle category that uses the Internet less than once a day.

Among those who use the Internet daily, more than 80 percent use it several times a day and nearly half use it constantly.

The Internet even follows many workers home. More than half of workers who have professional e-mail check it during weekends. A third check it during vacations.

But such efforts are often voluntary. Only one in five workers with professional e-mail is required to check it during off hours.

Overall, workers who use the Internet and e-mail on the job tend to like it. Roughly three-quarters say it improves communication and helps them do their jobs.

But roughly half of wired workers say technology stresses them out, forces them to do more and makes it harder for them to forget the office.

The study was based on a telephone poll of 1,000 American workers. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Who is the Web-at-work set?

Who uses the Internet at work? Excluding obvious answers - such as software programmers - doctors, lawyers and other professionals are the heaviest Internet users. Fewer than one in five blue-collar workers said they use the Internet at work daily.

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