Slow and faulty internet connections are undeniably frustrating and, according to research by Abbey National and Mori, irritation with sluggish surfing is causing 'web rage' to sweep the nation's offices.

The report revealed that the recently identified malady is prevalent in most offices, with over half (54 percent) of internet users experiencing it at least once a week.

"Such levels of web-related stress among net users seem to indicate that although most people's skills in using the web have matured and evolved, many websites unfortunately have not," said director of retail e-commerce at Abbey National. This growing gap between people's expectations and their actual experience on the net is leading to increasing incidents of web range."

A rather scary two percent actually admitted to hitting the person next to them when their PC frustrated them, but over three-quarters resorted to taking their anger out on their actual machine, by slapping or punching it.

One IT manager admitted he had smashed up a laptop, worth about £2,500, after it failed to recognise his details six times.

"Web users must be able to feel in control. [When they are not] irritation builds and blood pressure starts to rise. But letting emotions supersede rational thinking starts the slippery slope to stress," said Carole Spiers, occupational stress management consultant.

The most common annoyances were loading times, excessive requests for personal details and unhelpful help buttons.