Once upon a time, if you wanted to get a message to your colleague, you would have to actually use a pen and write words! Then go down the hall to the office to put the note in their mail box. All that trouble, you might as well just talk to them! My dad retired (ack!) 24 years ago, and still has a pad of Interdepartmental Memorandum paper. We always used to have this around the house. I think there were also big pages, for those really long memos. Now I happen to know that people just e-mail each other, "Lunch?"
And yes, this is a clever ploy to divert you from the lack of real knitting progress.