Don't allow a laptop to derail your meetings – this is the message
from Martin Boroson and Carmel Moore, directors of The One Moment
Company, which specialises in time management techniques.
In an article published last month in Fast Company, Boroson and Moore
proposed banning laptops at meetings to ensure that they are
productive, especially in the case of remote workers or those who have
to make special arrangements to attend in-person meetings.
to the article, when employees come together for a dedicated day, the
absence of distractions is important. Although laptops may be considered
a necessary tool for meetings, such as taking notes or sharing
documents, using them results in multitasking, even if it is
work-related. This means that employees' attention is not entirely
focused on the meeting. Additionally, the article highlights how laptops
can be a pretext for doing other things and how they can cause
“It is where we access (and are available to) the whole world outside
the meeting,” Boroson and Moore say in the article. ”And it is where we
indulge some of our counter-productive addictions: checking the score
of the big game, watching the dog cam. This means that even though you
may have gone to great lengths to gather everyone physically in the same
room, they may be mentally somewhere else.”
Boroson and Moore explain that speaking at a meeting where attendees
are distracted by their laptops can be a discouraging experience.
According to them, your perspective may not be acknowledged as no one
may be looking at you, which can lead to a reduction in your confidence.
Furthermore, the lack of eye contact results in a lack of real-time
feedback and the body language of distracted co-workers can suggest
disinterest, causing you to doubt the value of your ideas and feel
According to Boroson and Moore, it is recommended to evaluate the
need for laptops in each in-person meeting. They suggest stating the
laptop policy clearly in the invitation and at the beginning of the
meeting, trying device-free meetings, especially for sensitive or
creative topics, providing alternative ways of taking notes, and being
clear about the intention and level of attention required for each
meeting to succeed.
If necessary, designate just one person as the “laptop person” or
‘information gatherer’ and give everyone dedicated laptop breaks, short
periods in the meeting when they are allowed to use devices.