These days, we have so many potentially labour saving technological devices, but to how great an extent do such advances increase rather than decrease workload and stress?
I remember the days when typists used carbon copies and had to retype a whole page when they made a mistake. I remember being gobsmacked that a work colleague had somehow ordered his week's shopping over this mysterious thing called an internet. I remember laughing when City boys started walking around with massive mobile phones and thinking how pretentious, unnecessary, and clumsy they were, and scornfully claiming they would never catch on because no-one in their right mind would want to be constantly contactable!
How many of you feel now feel strangely insecure and cut off when your mobile is out of action or your internet connection goes down? How many of you habitually go to check emails first thing when you wake up? How many of you are so proficient at texting you can send messages without looking - and do so constantly throughout the day! ? How many eat meals at your computer? How many families spend hours in separate rooms at the computer, (although, on the plus side, my son has just been commended for his excellent general knowledge, which given his tendency not to read books or watch TV actually must come from the 'building civilisations' type computer games he favours).
New technology can clearly enable us to work faster and more efficiently, and it facilitates flexible and remote working (fitting in with childcare or avoiding a distasteful commute), but it can also mean that we cannot ever really get away and switch off.
I just recently became the owner of a smart phone. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I don't. For example, I only work a 4-6 hour day on Fridays (depending on the time of year.) But my boss works later than me most days and so on Fridays I really enjoy seeing her e-mails so I can prepare myself for Monday. I don't love it during times when I don't want to see what's going on at work. I was on vacation recently and even though I was doing my best to relax I had a compulsion to check my work e-mail.
Overall, I wish that I wasn't so contactable and when it's time for a new phone I will probably not link my work e-mail to my phone.
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