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How the Federal Government is Killing Millions of Productivity Hours

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Your Federal Government is holding back the economy and preventing millions of Americans from being productive. The culprit happens in those moments just before takeoff and landing.

As reported by NBC:

Fliers will have to forgo 105 million hours of personal electronic devices (PEDs) this year due to FAA’s ban on their use during takeoff and landing. That’s not only video game sessions, but a whole lot of missed opportunities to get some real work done.

The productivity drain is not insignificant. Conducted by researchers at the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University, the study, Tablets Take Flight, notes that with more travelers carrying more devices, the amount of “disrupted technological activity” has soared 104 percent since 2010.

Business Consulting: Wasted Airline Time

© Flickr user Kitty Terwolbeck

It’s easy to pick on airlines and airports for their productivity problems. Here on The Methodology Blog, we’ve pointed out problems with “deals” for checked luggage, noted how one carrier fired an employee for responding to a design suggestion, and how a policy trapped someone at an airport.

But is it fair to blame the Federal Aviation Administration for millions of lost productivity hours due to a gadget ban? NBC seems to think the problem is really one of incompetence in the bureaucracy:

The matter is further complicated by the fact that the jury is still out on the degree to which PEDs can actually cause interference to flight systems. No cases have conclusively tied aircraft problems to the use of such devices.

Pressure continues to build to end or at least modify the ban. Passengers wonder why iPads can now be used on the flight deck but not in the cabin, and one recent study showed that as many as 30 percent of fliers have left a device on during takeoff or landing, apparently without causing problems.

Business Consulting: Wasted Airline Time

© Flickr user Eric Bréchemier

These are real problems that should be addressed. But perhaps more fundamentally, the deeper problem is that we know we will have to switch off our devices, so why can’t we be prepared? It’s no surprise to most travelers that there will be an announcement, so why not bring a paperback book? Why not have some hard copies of important papers?

Or better yet, why not use this time to relax and collect your thoughts? Perhaps that’s the biggest loss of productivity of all: never putting down our work and taking a moment to reflect on what we’ve done, where we are, and what lies ahead.

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