Playing the Email Fugue

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LBC are running a competition with Intel and Dell where you can win a laptop . Don’t get too excited – my reason for mentioning it is that their blurb goes like this:

“we’re giving away an Intel? Centrino? mobile technology laptop that enables you to work anywhere, anytime”

Now call me old-fashioned (don’t you dare) but who in their right mind 20 years ago would have been delighted to have won something that meant they could work anywhere, anytime. What kind of freedom is it to have a £1,000+ bit of gear which means you could in principle never be at leisure?
Wordspy has already listed the term teleworkaholic syndrome, meaning the tendency of people who work from home overwork because they feel they have to justify their situation.

Not for the first time, I’ve spent a whole morning playing what I call an email fugue this week. An email fugue is a state in which a number of different people email each other about a project or problem, adding information, suggesting solutions and expressing feelings or ideas, at the end of which everyone has the feeling that they have achieved something, but have nothing to show for it. The act of writing, sending and receiving feels like work, but isn’t – no hole has been dug, nothing moved, nothing built. Is this really what we need always-on networks and laptops for?

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