The Paperless Office

Back in the 1980s I was working for a progressive overseas company that was determined to drag us all into the modern age by among other things introducing the paperless office.

Those were the days of the management gurus, you may remember Peter Drucker,  Tom Peters, Michal Porter and visionaries like Alvin Toffler, and they were very influential in shaping the way businesses were run and left quite a legacy that to some extent still survive today. Indeed some of  them are most likely still working for Consultancy firms or publishers of tomes on Management.

Most companies were well into computers of the ‘old’ kind, batch processing, but this was the time when the personal computer or work station became introduced in the workplace and consequently communication now was via email and internal mail. It was also the time to learn Lotus spreadsheeting, forerunner to Excel, Lotus Amipro or Word Perfect, forerunners to Word for Windows, and later came PowerPoint for presentations. Computer operated projection to a big screen was quite a novel step and I mustn’t forget the progress in printers from the earlier clattering chain dot matrix printers using the wide paper with holes on the edges for the sprockets to move it forward, a bit like the electronic automatic typewriter, to the eventual introduction of inkjet printers and then the colour laser printers.

Our goal of a paperless office was partly successful only, reports needed paper, the accountants needed paper printed and of course customer invoicing was required, but customer orders were entered on the computer and stockkeeping and reordering were computerized. Wage computation switched from Kalamazoo to the computer and meanwhile we went through the various iterations of Windows Operating Systems  from Windows5 right up to XP.

It was a never ending learning curve and companies that provided training did well.  It also became clear that the companies that had introduced the modern ways and faced the change in a sensible manner had a well trained staff who enjoyed their work and environment and so became competitively stronger.

All this was about 30 years ago, and today we have new devices and new learning curves, but far more aimed at satisfying individual desires than strictly for solving work problems, and this is why Kapiti SeniorNet goes from strength to strength because this is the place to learn how you can maximize the results from using your chosen device.

You probably are not aiming for a paperless office, it always was a hard nut to crack, but with the Internet of Things getting us closer to that date I am reminded of a little French video advert you might like. You do not need knowledge of French to understand this one. Enjoy.