Model IELTS Writing Task 2: Personal Computers and 24/7 emails

Nov 24, 2022 | IELTS Test

This model essay tackles the question of the extended work hours brought by modern technology. This kind of topic can be introduced in several different ways on test day. Be careful–a subtle twist in the way the question is asked can require a quite different approach.

This particular question asks if there are more positive than negative effects. An examiner will only award a 9.0 if they feel you could not have added anything to the question. So, if you are aiming for a 9.0 make sure to mention both positives and negatives–even if you focus on only one. If you are aiming for a band 8.0 or less, then just mentioning the positive or negative side will be fine.

The essay is structured as follows…

Introduction: containing the main ideas and position. Note how it avoids the kind of memorised clauses that are taught on many sites

1st Body Paragraph: giving a reason why the author thinks this is a negative development

2nd Body Paragraph: giving a second reason why the author believes the effects are negative

3rd Body Paragraph: giving a positive effect for the sake of a complete answer

Conclusion: paraphrasing the author’s position and the main argument

IELTS Practice Question

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Personal computers mean anyone can now receive and answer work emails at any time of day, seven days a week.

Does this development have more positive or negative effects on both the individual and society?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

image of office worker using her personal computer

Mock IELTS Task 2 Answer

Technological developments have given people immediate access to their work email accounts wherever they are, including in the evenings and on weekends. On the whole, this development has had a broadly negative impact on employees – and, by association, on society as a whole. 

A clear risk of the cultural shift towards “always-on” remote work is that of burnout. Most people work hard during the typical working week; in corporate jobs – the environments in which people are most likely to be expected to respond to emails outside of office hours – the normal working week is already very long. If those who hold such positions aren’t given an opportunity to switch off and recharge, their mental and physical health is likely to deteriorate. 

Failing to encourage a positive work-life balance isn’t only directly detrimental to employees, it also stifles productivity and, thus, company performance. This is evident from a comparison of hourly output by country; most of the countries which perform best by this measure – Norway, Germany and Denmark, among others – have work cultures which allow employees to disconnect after leaving the office. 

There has been, in fairness, one positive outcome of the new way of working: an increased awareness of the dangers of overwork. Where once the subject was brushed under the carpet, many businesses are now in open dialogue on how to boost the wellbeing of their people. 

In conclusion, work-life balance is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Answering work emails at all times of day, seven days a week, detracts from that balance, and should be avoided wherever possible.

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