Posted by Brian McCullough
I remember when wifi and laptops first proliferated in college classrooms. Right away I noticed: no one was paying attention.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, there was plenty going on… plenty of IM discussions amongst the students in the audience.
The same sort of problem has made its way to corporate life: (from the Mercury News, via 43 Folders)
Frustrated by distracted workers so plugged in that they tune out in the middle of business meetings, a growing number of companies are going “topless,” as in no laptops allowed. Also banned from some conference rooms: BlackBerrys, iPhones and other personal devices on which so many have come to depend…
But as laptops have gotten lighter and smart-phones even smarter, people have discovered a handy diversion, making more eye contact these days with their screens than one another. The practice became so pervasive that Todd Wilkens turned to his company blog to wage his “personal war against CrackBerry…”
His San Francisco design firm, Adaptive Path, now strongly encourages everyone to leave their laptops at their desks. His colleague, Dan Saffer, coined the term “topless” as in “laptop-less.” Also booted are mobile and smart-phones, which must be stowed on a counter or in a box during meetings. It took some convincing, but soon people began connecting with one another rather than with their computers, Wilkens said.
“All of our meetings got a lot more productive,” he said.