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Back in the late 1980's I remember witnessing Motorola executives repeatedly leaving an important strategy meeting because of mobile phone calls. During the half-day meeting some of the board was out of the room more than they were in and none of them were present for all of the presentations. I thought to myself that I wasn't sure that these new cellular phones were really going to be a tool that helped productivity. Over the years I've watched as more and more people seem to have lost the ability to focus on their present surroundings because of the constant demands and distractions from their mobile devices. Now, it turns out that many are becoming addicted to these things.

Someone needs to show them the "off" button.

Now, some companies are adopting policies aimed at weaning employees from their electronic devices.
. . .
Atos, an international information technology company, plans to phase out all e-mails among employees by the end of 2013 and rely instead on other forms of communication. And starting in the new year, employees at Daimler, the German automaker, can have incoming e-mail automatically deleted during vacations so they do not return to a flooded in-box.

Professor Perlow agreed that companies could improve their bottom line by encouraging employees to disconnect at times. “Being constantly on actually undermines productivity,” she said.

“I don’t use the metaphor of addiction,” said Ms. Turkle, who is also a psychologist. “We’re not going to give it up. We shouldn’t give it up. It’s more like food, and being on a digital diet. The questions we should ask are, ‘What are the healthy choices?’ ”
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