This article first appeared November 2nd, 2012.
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when computers and the internet first started appearing on our office desks, the digital revolution promised us many things. That’s promised as in “a politician promised us tax cuts before the last election”.
First, we were promised virtual reality headsets in every home, hooked up to the information superhighway. There were going to be fridges that would connect to the internet to automatically order more milk. Then there was the “problem” of how we’d all fill the leisure time freed up by computers reducing our work hours. But the granddaddy of these cyberspace promises was the paperless office.
Old Taskmaster remembers being sold an IBM compatible microcomputer with DOS back in the day (back when a desktop PC was considered “micro” sized) on the promise that it could do more than run BBSes, MUDs, MOOs and WordPerfect – it would become the cornerstone of the paperless office too.
By the time we took to the skies in our flying cars and hoverboards in the early 2000s, email was supposed to make all postal workers redundant. Some were even so bold as to claim that the tax office would stop sending small businesspeople forms to fill in!
Fast forward to 2012. There are some filing cabinets in Taskmaster Towers that will explode like a confetti-filled piñata if one more sheet of paper is put in them. There’s a back room stacked to the roof with boxes full of paper. And I mean literally to the roof – the ceiling panels and light fittings have been removed to fit more boxes in.
That’s before we get to some of the drawers in the employees’ desks. How so much paper can fit in such a small space and still obey the laws of thermodynamics remains a mystery. I have begun to suspect some of the drawers are portals to a parallel dimension filled with paper.
Other staff are apparently planning skiing trips down the mountains of old newspapers that are being accumulated on their desks.
Well, now the digital revolution has well and truly arrived, I say it’s time to throw out some paper. Wheel out the recycling bin and order your staff to spend 10 minutes emptying their desk of any paper – or any other rubbish for that matter – that they no longer need. If any of your staff have any questions about the clean out, tell them to send you an email.
Get it done – today!