Email considered harmful


Or maybe employees could grow a pair and just not answer the work phone when not at work, as well as not check facebook all the time while at work.
I will cop to being in IT and have had to be on call but luckily it was not 24/7 as I was on a big team (we admin a whole lot of servers which sadly makes for lots of interrupted nights when on call) but that also was something that I considered before saying yes to the job so I knew the odd 2am work would happen and the regular late night patch party. But even though I work via VPN unless I am in a groove and getting a batch of things done for the most part oh look 5pm time to log out and not pay attention to the work pc. Unless you are in a job where you have to fix broken things at 2am you don’t need to be checking for an email from the boss all the time when you are not in the office.


I love email. My favourite means of communication. Means I can mostly do my job without having to talk to anyone, or, worse still, having to use the telephone. Christ, I hate those things.

That said, I am glad I’m not in a job that requires me to have a Blackberry any more. I ended up checking it compulsively. It was useful, but there’s a lot to be said to finishing work at the end of the day and that being that.


“Email considered harmful?” If so, you’re doing it wrong.


One of my favorite things about email is how I can ignore it for extended periods of time.


My current job does not involve weekends, or late evenings. This is a huge blessing over previous jobs that involved late nights, bringing work laptops with me on vacation, and text messages to the point that I was getting panic attacks from just hearing the text message tone.

Couldn’t be happier. To hell with the music industry. Too much work and stress for not enough money.

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" growing body of evidence about the negative impact of electronic messaging on workplace productivity"

Lol. Yeah lets go back to typing one copy on a typewriter, making more on a mimeograph and walking them to everyone’s desk where they had no real choice but to sit there and read it.

Email has cut hours of pointless work out of our weeks. The fact that work and leisure are available everywhere and some employers and employees have trouble balancing things is something different, however related.


I worked in a small office where I tried to follow Merlin Mann’s advice of checking it no more than every 30 minutes.

This being a small office, I’d have salesmen click “Send”, then walk to my desk and ask, “Did you get my email?”

I hate open floor plans.

I do love email, though, and distrust those who refuse to use it. The way I see it…yeah, there’s value in talking to someone one-on-one from time to time, but I wonder what the agenda is with a person who refuses to have a data trail.


I work the helpdesk at a fairly large company, and so far have been quite successful at keeping working and non-working time separate. I do have to do 7 days of 24 hour oncall every 8 weeks though, and it’s murder.

My normal shift is 4pm-1am. Oncall starts as soon as I clock out, and I’m usually getting calls on the drive home, thank Bob for automated voicemail to text transcoding.

Typically there is a stretch from 2am to 5am where there’s no calls, and the day shift doesn’t get on the lines till 7am. So I sometimes manage to sleep an hour or two between getting off work and getting “morning” calls.

Can’t complain though. I’m not salaried, and have hourly pay, so I don’t consider my time “owned by the company”, except for when I’m oncall. and deliberately choose to be totally cutoff from work during non-work hours. I can imagine checking email and taking calls after hours. It’s unsavory to say the least.

Whatever happened to that old union slogan: 8 hours for work, 8 hours for myself, 8 hours for sleep?


Didn’t you get the memo: Unions are evul.

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Case in point Captain Kirk: the coming pan galactic civilization has no use for email.
Video conferencing and male dominated hierarchical management structures yes.
So where does that leave us: I stream you stream we all stream emails we are never going to read…

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“Some businesses have banned electronic messaging altogether, requiring workers to physically traverse their workplaces and exchange vibrating air molecules in order to coordinate their activities.”

Yes…this is why the most productive time of the week is the 2 hour staff meeting. Not.


Best thing I ever did was stop checking work email after 5 p.m. Most of my coworkers seem to check their work email on their personal phones, but I just stopped doing that altogether. And the world didn’t fall apart.

I do have a job in which there are potential situations that I need to know about after hours and respond to, but I worked out a system where I get notified (by SMS) of true emergencies while ignoring the the routine after hours stuff.

I feel like the correct answer is “I don’t know, why don’t you tell me what it said?”


I switched to hourly IT work 2.5 years ago. Total game changer. No longer owned by the man.

Nice example of a false dilemma fallacy.

Happily my work phone is not a fancy smart crackberry or whatever so they have to call me and I don’t always pack the work phone with me when I go out after work. Since what I do now is mostly just a get it done it doesn’t matter when I work but it helps to be online when the customer is but I can’t check email without turning on the work machine and starting up the VPN so nah not gonna bother after I am done for the day. If there is an emergency they can call me and hope I have my phone with me. :smile:

Exactly. Avoiding the e-mail trail is a lot like the military custom of refusing to give written orders when a plan is questionable. It lets the higher ups blame the underlings by saying “I never told them to do that” if things go wrong.

I love email, hate instant messaging.

As others have said, email is easy to sort and prioritize. It makes a lot more sense with many work related discussions as it allows careful proofreading before submission… saves on a lot of miscommunication. Plus there’s the paper trail, as long as I keep the message on my hard drive I can refer back whenever needed.

Good luck doing any of that with face to face conversations (or IM’s)!

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It’s not email and technology that are harmful, it’s shitty employers and managers. They are, unfortunately, as ubiquitous as email.