We present a study of the effects of instant messaging (IM) on individuals ’ management of work across multiple collaborative projects. Groups of four participants completed four web design tasks. Each participant worked on two tasks, each task with a different partner who was either co-located or remote, connected via IM. In one condition, each participant had one co-located and one remote partner. In a second condition, both partners were remote. We examined communication, division of labor, and task performance as a function of condition. The results indicated that nearly all participants divided their time unequally between projects, but less unequally in the remote/remote condition. In the co-located/remote condition, participants favored the task with the co-located partner. The results show that the effects of IM differ depending on people’s multiple tasks are distributed across space. We propose a new IM interface that promotes awareness of multiple collaborators on multiple tasks
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