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Learning to lean back at work

For many people, firing up a desktop computer every morning is an office ritual. Depending on the model, the advantages of a desktop computer are clear. They are powerful machines, capable of storing large amounts of information and handling complex, memory-driven tasks. Along with a mouse and keyboard, they are relatively user-friendly.

The idea of Lean Back reinforces a generally-accepted trend: more of us are choosing to consume information on tablets and mobile devices. More counter-intuitive is the idea that some of us may be using tablets to replace desktop PCs.

A new survey of business users, carried out by ChangeWave Research, claims that 32% of respondents use a tablet as a replacement for a PC, particularly Apple’s iPad, which is thrashing its competitors in the tablet market. The survey results are a testament to the engineering and marketing prowess of the Apple brand as well as the increasing functionality of tablet computers, which enable not only straightforward tasks such as internet browsing and checking emails, but also office work on the move.

Data from a Nielsen Group survey, reinforces the ease of carrying out tasks on a tablet, with 77% of tablet users reporting that they use their tablets for actions that would previously involve using a desktop of laptop computer. Portability, ease of use and fast start-up times were the most popular reasons.

The beauty of technology is its ability to surprise, to shape or shatter established norms in hitherto unexpected ways. What these results show is that the lean-back experience may not just involve a one-way transition from paper to screen. It could involve cutting through lines of the corporate routine and disrupting the very nature of work.