Late last week the BBC posted a story on the paperless office. Given the errors in the story, I’m not sure it’s reading, but I do want to direct your attention to the related video clip.
About half the clip was shot in the UK National Archives, and it covers digitization. I would embed it if I could, but that’s a no. You can find the clip here. (If you’re puzzled why an article about the paperless office would feature a detour to an archive, you’re not alone. I don’t understand it either.)
The topic of the article focused on how the paperless office was still beyond our grasp. As you can imagine, a paperless office is of particular importance to me, given how many of my posts cover digital content. Naturally I was a little disappointed to learn that the BBC thought that a paperless office was impossible.
Ten years ago, the tools for the paperless office were less commonplace. But now there are tablets, smartphones, laptops, high-speed wireless broadband, high capacity storage and many more.
But paper remains at the heart of our culture.
Microsoft Business is one of many companies which advises people wanting to become paperless, but it agrees that in practice this often means “less paper”.
When it was contacted and asked for an example of a company it has assisted to go “100% paperless”, it came back example-less.
Again, its own offices are not entirely without hard copies. But this appears to be true nearly across the board.
That’s funny; I found a paperless office without any effort. Mine. I generate no paper at all, and I can promise you that the last dozen things I printed were all shipping labels – and one boarding pass (the airline wouldn’t accept a digital boarding pass). I’ll admit to having a few paper bills on my desk as well as a couple checks, but that’s mainly because not everyone is willing or able to go to digital billing and payments.
But you don’t have to take me for an example; I have a better one. My mother remarked the other day that she was having an argument with her boss over whether it was possible to go paperless; in her last job she worked in a paperless office. Every business process had gone digital, and aside from the few holdouts it was a paperless office.
That was in 2006; has anyone gone paperless even earlier than that?
image by khrawlings