The Workplace Evolution, Part II: The Changing Desktop
When it comes to the timeline of the computer, the evolution from big, clunky calculation machines to the smaller, more elegant laptops and desktops that we use today has been an extraordinary feat (and one in a fairly short amount of time).
The original form of computers had humble beginnings, including the Complex Number Calculator (CNC), built in 1940 to perform “calculations remotely on the CNC (located in New York City) using a Teletype terminal connected via to New York over special telephone lines,” and 1944’s 50-foot long Harvard Mark 1 (used to create mathematical tables).
Changing Desktop Computing
It’s estimated that there are billions of computers in the world today, used in everything from air traffic control to retail. While, as a society, we’ve grown more and more “computer blind” to how and where they’re utilized in our lives every day, one of the most common uses continues to be at work.
Think about how you use your Mac or PC during your daily grind. For many, you get to work, turn on (or wake up) your computer, sign in to your personalized desktop, check your email, and then use programs and apps to accomplish your daily tasks— chatting with colleagues, collaborating on documents, calendaring your day, etc. The desktop itself has truly made its own progression— from what was once a more difficult user experience, to one that is geared towards consumers getting work done.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The problem? We’re now in an age where we have an app for everything. While we’ve certainly advanced from programs like Lotus and simple spreadsheets, the sheer magnitude of apps that some now depend on to accomplish their daily to-dos is nothing short of the anti-productive.
With separate apps for things like email, chat, file storage and video chat (all huge feats when compared to the capabilities of original computers like the Complex Number Calculator), it seems that we’ve taken a leap into app overload.
How is this the antithesis of productivity? Think about the sheer amount of time that’s spent sorting through email alone. Not to mention, the time spent bouncing from app to app, digging for information housed in various places, locating specific snippets of conversation needed in a rush, etc.
Like any solution that is growing and evolving, this problem is beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel with things like all-in-one solutions, meant to save time, money and resources.
Of course, we’re likely to see a myriad of other changes throughout the years, especially in a field like technology, where things change and evolve at lightning speed. But with an increasing focus for companies to reach their biggest goals in the most efficient way possible, things like the desktop will continue to get back to their less complicated, simplified roots.