Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 17/10/2005It's Monday morning, which means none of the Great Engines OfIndustry have been at work since Friday. This makes life hard forpeople such as ourselves who report on Great Engines: the oneconsolation is that it's even harder for our comrades on the Mondayeditions of the nationals.

Monday 17/10/2005

It's Monday morning, which means none of the Great Engines Of Industry have been at work since Friday. This makes life hard for people such as ourselves who report on Great Engines: the one consolation is that it's even harder for our comrades on the Monday editions of the nationals. We can slap stuff up during the day as the GEs of I gradually crank into action: the inkies are stuck with whatever they can scrape together on a Sunday afternoon.

Which fact is also well known to PRs, who take the opportunity to slide in those client-pleasing funnies which would normally not get a look-in. Hence today's "Email Makes You Fat" non-story that decorates even the poshest paper. According to "Sport England", our reliance on email (and presumably IM, though it doesn't say) has led to us never getting up from our desks to go and gossip with our workmates. Instead, we swap anecdotes over the LAN while gently melting into our chairs. Get up you lazy drones, says Sport England! Close that email client for a day, and work off that flab pacing around the grey beige carpet!

This is arrant nonsense. If it were true, I — who have been using email for more than two decades — would be some giant mound of unsightly blubber…

Er, ok. Let's try that again.

This is arrant nonsense. Even if it's true, asking people to not use email for a day is like getting them to ride horses into work or grow their own gruel. In any case, once we stand up and walk away, we're as likely to go to the snack machine, the smoking room, the pub or some local lard emporium. That can't be what the good people of Sport England had in mind.

A better system would be to accept that we're not going to uncouple ourselves from our keyboards — and what conscientious manager would allow that — but to build in some extra calorie burning activity. An at-seat pedal generator, for example, keeping your monitor on and your tum in trim at the same time.

Or perhaps mobile desks, again pedal powered, that can whiz around the office and bounce off each other like dodgems. After all, we have wireless networking: we might as well enjoy it.