In the early 1990’s one of the leading document product companies (Rank Zerox, IBM) etc. declared that by the millennium we would have a ‘paperless’ office.
I can recall working at a company at that time, and some seemed excited at this prospect, we even gave it a go ourselves; telesales room 8 people, 8 headsets and 8 computers. No paper, no pads, no pens. I know in our company this worked for less than 3 weeks. By week 4 all 8 telesales people were back to note pads and pens doing quick calculations for customers on the phones faster than the computer! Then month end came, and the manager would shout: ‘backup all invoices and store invoicing until you go home, print off tomorrow morning’. Then all our printers would start to turn out reams and reams of paper, month end sales, purchases, credit control, stock control, month end salaries and commission reports, the list was endless, as was the paper. I stood next to our accountant, looking at a printer, he was holding a cross biro, I had a cross fountain pen in my hand, ‘so much for the paperless office, eh mister’ I said to him. Sadly my Cross fountain pen went with my briefcase out of the back of my car by some thief, not long after!
Almost 20 years on and this year we saw a bank, my bank, the RBS group thrown into turmoil because of a ‘glitch’ a hand written ledger never had a ‘glitch’. A reporter’s note book never had a ‘glitch’ (though it may have bent the truth a little!) Footage from CCTV cameras is not always accepted as evidence in court, yet a policeman’s hand written notebook is!
So what did ever happen to the paperless office? Well it never happened did it? I am a probate researcher, I always have a diary, notebook and pen (or2 or 3) in my pocket. I instruct my partner and my researchers to do the same. A smartphone can have a ‘glitch’, a digital camera, Dictaphone and even an iPhone or iPad can have a ‘glitch’ but a notebook and pen………… Never.
I, for one, am more than delighted that a paperless office never materialised. My note book, diary and pen(s) will be with me forever (although I think Santa is bringing me a combined notebook and diary this crimbo 🙂