At the start of my last semester of school, I was taken back when I read the syllabus for one of my classes. It read something like: “laptops may not be brought to class because they distract both the student and the teacher.” For most of my college career I had gotten used to bringing my laptop to class to take notes because I could type much faster than I could write, and sorting and organizing notes was much easier. Here I was in my last semester and the teacher wasn’t going to allow a laptop. I was annoyed, but life went on without my laptop and I had to get used to writing my notes once again.
That was the first and only time where I’ve been in a situation where laptops were not allowed, but that might be changing. Now it appears that managers of companies are thinking like my professor did and asking their employees not to bring computers to meetings. Will this request eventually become a new trend? A recent blog entry by Christopher Null over at Yahoo Tech talks about this very issue. Nulls says that managers are tired of workers bringing their laptops to meetings to do anything but work.
Laptops are vital business tools and banning them makes little sense on the surface. That is, after all, why laptops were invented in the first place: So people could take their computer off their desk and into another environment, like a meeting and be doubly productive.
Then he went on to say:
Laptops may be more a symptom of meetings that were already useless rather than the cause. How many times have I wished I could catch up on my email instead of having to sit in a crowded conference room and listen to a stuffed shirt drone on about another grand, corporate design that will never come to pass?
More than I can count. Now give me back my Minesweeper.
I’ve always been one that has the mind-set of work smarter, not harder, and that’s what a laptop has allowed me to do. While some employees and students may use a laptop for leisure (at times, there’s nothing wrong with using a laptop to pass time), others don’t and use it to work smarter. This got me thinking about other technology devices that could be added to a “ban” list like Smartphones, iPhones, or cell phones in general. When it comes down to it, are all of these devices more distractive than they are beneficial?
I don’t know about you, but I’m really hoping that a “no laptops allowed” rule doesn’t become the new trend…