Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mobiles Off While Meetings On

New Prime Minister...new rules.
It's in the top drawer beside the condoms...er...ahem...the, er, directive should be signed off by midday.One of David Cameron's first decrees as Brit PM was to ban the use of Blackberrys and mobiles in meetings.
Some say: quite right, meetings can't be interrupted by Googling, e-mails, texts, tweets, thumbs dancing across devices... you need focus. Does anyone read a newspaper during business meetings? No! So why is it seemingly acceptable to check e-mails? Or worse - receive a call, and have to leave the room to answer it? Does this sort of thing happen in your workplace meetings?
The other side maintains the 21st Century is the time of the multi-tasker. Surely one of the uses of surround-technology is to be able to do several things at once. And it's always nice to know that "if something happens", we can always be contacted, right?
One of technology's social impacts has been the blurring of the divide between work and life. As we answer e-mails in the evening and make work calls at weekends, it's no longer clear where work stops and life begins: that necessary work/life balance has tilted without serious objection. If meetings are to be protected from technological distractions, surely other parts of life should be just as sacrosanct.
Perhaps, after so many years of growing techno-intrusions into our lives, Cameron's decision is a sign that the tide may be starting to turn...

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