The Infosecurity Europe conference partnered with Mirapoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor of e-mail server and security appliances for the survey, which noted that 42 percent of U.K. workers said they'd missed a deadline due to an e-mail message gone astray.
Two-thirds of them said that legitimate messages they should have received were blocked by their company's spam filter; two thirds of that number said the problem happened on a monthly basis, but a quarter said it occurred every week.
"The spam hysteria of the last few years has created the impression that blocking unwanted e-mail is the primary concern for businesses, with the result that some service providers and companies appear to have lost sight of their users' real needs," said Nigel Brooke, a vice president with the European office of Mirapoint, in a statement.
"Filtering unwanted messages ultimately serves no purpose if it undermines the effectiveness of the overall message network's responsiveness," he added.
A conference spokesperson said that although false positives may be impossible to eliminate entirely, the result -- missed deadlines -- can be avoided by using such standard e-mail security and anti-spam tools as "white lists" and giving users easy and timely access to spam quarantine folders.