Recent years have witnessed an increase in technological advances on an unprecedented scale. Cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices have become somewhat of a necessity to our everyday lives. Still, there exists an issue as to whether or not these mobile devices are taking up valuable time that could be spent working or doing something more productive. Arguments are sufficient for both sides of the issue. I think the real issue however lies not in the deterioration of our productivity, but in the consequences of our coming to rely on technology.
Technology Produces Effeciency
The world has evolved. We who live in it must come to terms with the fact that the pace of our lives continually increases. The devices and means by which we conduct our daily activities will evolve all the same. Thus, we must incorporate them into our lives. This ideology is adhered to by those who refuse to believe that technological advances in electronic devices have hurt employee productivity. The argument is a good one. One might even venture to suggest that increases in production are a product of our advancement in cell phone and laptop technology. For instance, if someone wanted to send a message or notification to 25 people 60 years ago, that person would have had to either mail out 25 letters, or make 25 individual phone calls to those people. In the world we live in now, one would only need to type out a single text message on nearly any cell phone, and with a few pushes of the finger forward that message to all of those 25 people in a matter of seconds. That is an increase in production. Another argument might be made for not only employees, but people in general. In today’s world, a person who previously would have had to drive all around town to run errands and waste nearly half a day can do most of those errands in minutes. A man can check his bank account, pay his mortgage payment, pay his car payment, buy a Christmas gift, send a message to an unlimited amount of people, and print out the photos from his camera all from the convenience of his home, all in a matter of minutes. It may be hard to discount the value of technology in everyday work and life.
Problems with Technological Advancement?
The trouble with things that seem too good to be true is that more often than not, they are. That is true at least to a certain degree in this case. While technological advances benefit us greatly in multitasking and getting things done quickly, they also create for us the opportunity to waste time. We all know that a job can often become dull or repetitive. Still, things must get done. Smartphones and laptops will often prevent that. After all, games and pointless text messages are a bit more entertaining than are financial reports or paper grading. Are they not? Those who oppose mobile devices in the workplace or in an environment where they prevent productivity weight their reasoning on these beliefs about people. Productivity is not the only problem either. Studies have shown that people are coming to a point of near obsession with electronic devices. They are always connected. Whether it is at school, work, home, the store, or even church, there exists an insatiable desire to indulge in an electronic world, outside the realm of physical activity. To many, this is the true problem. Those who take this side will tell you that the benefits that we derive from our modern technology are but fractional when compared with the problems with productivity and obsession they cause.
Coming to a Conclusion
So aside from the checkmate arguments presented by both sides, is there a middle ground? I think there may be. Still, I do think a problem exists. It is impossible for me to deny how much simpler the advances in electronics have made my life. I can get so much more of the mundane and out of the way task accomplished at a much faster rate. It is also impossible to deny how much faster businesses and salespeople can now operate and communicate because of the technology. Yet, I do also believe that games and mindless activity on one’s phone or laptop will often prevent him or her from accomplishing a task or even learning in a classroom. Knowing those two things, I must defend the case for technology. The reason is I believe it to be the lesser of two evils. The real problem that we are presented with is not a lack of production. This has occurred throughout history anyway. The distractions may have shown up in the form of doodling or chatting at the watercooler, but nevertheless we have always had a means to break away from getting things done at our fingertips.
The real issue, as it states in the title of this article, is the increased dependence on electronic devices. Dependence is rarely used in a positive sense, and here it is no different. My phone can do a host of things. I am able to talk not only on my phone, but to my phone as well. That enables me to cut down time sifting through my contacts. It can give me reminders. It can correct my misspelled words when sending a text message. It can record voices and sounds in case I am feeling sleepy in class. The list goes on and on. Now, if eventually I develop a dependence on these things. If I expect my words to be corrected, if I find it irritating to actually have to look up a number in a phone book, if I had to ever write a hand letter and am shocked at the idea, then I have a serious problem. What is happening is a deterioration of my mental and multitasking capabilities. Eventually, I will forget how to spell words. Eventually, I will forget how to write with a pen (or my kids will). Eventually, I will be an electronic addict with no knowledge of how to function away from my phone or computer. This is a serious problem. Technology, while helpful with production, has the capability to make us incompetent idiots if we allow it. Yes, I want to get things done faster, but I will remain conscience of the fact that developing dependence will limit my abilities. I do not want that for myself, nor the future generations.
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Sethughes (author) on June 22, 2012:
I think that is the only logical answer. It is hard to keep electronics from distracting us, but cannot be done away with because they are so beneficial. Thanks.
Giselle Maine on June 21, 2012:
I agree with your idea that it is important to strike a balance by using electronics for increased work productivity while trying not to get distracted by things like checking email, etc. A good hub on an interesting topic.