Unfolding plans 172 – World Paper Free Day

It’s World Paper Free Day today. I hope you’re enjoying it.  I hope you didn’t send a card!  I didn’t know there was such a thing until a couple of weeks ago but I put it in my diary and here it is.  I’ve long been an advocate of getting away from paper at work.  I’m not anti-paper.  I’m not an anti-paperite.  It has its place and there are some times when only paper will do (I’m thinking repositionable notes here) yet I do object to the slavish adherence to an old way of working.  A paper based work system is too restrictive.  It is difficult to store, it is difficult to share and it is difficult to analyse.

Since April 2014 I haven’t had an office, I haven’t had a desk and I haven’t touched paper (or at least I’ve avoided it where I can).

As I’m writing this I’m sitting at a small table in Digtial Durham World Headquarters (Spennymoor) with my laptop open and no paper.  This is how I roll.

World Paper Free Day has been organised by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management).  They are the global community for information professionals. Their mission is to help us through the morass of the modern information age.  They are aiming to solve these four business problems:  How do we manage the risk of growing volumes of content?; How do we automate our content-intensive business processes?; How do we use content to engage  and collaborate better ?; How do we gain business insight from all of this information?

Themed days have always been a moot point. I’m never sure that they work yet here I am telling you all about the group and their aims.  I’d never heard of the organisation before and now I’ve joined it.

Today fits nicely into a few other pieces of work I’m involved in.  The work with Xerox that I covered in an earlier blog has allowed us to drive printing volumes down, although they may well be creeping back up.  (Paper addiction is a hard one to kick.)  The work on electronic document and records management will help us to make a better case for the virtual over the physical while Mark tells me we are finally making some good progress on electronic signatures.

Inappropriate paper still crops up in the form of late reports and items to be authorised with a signature.  Since we have gone to paperless meetings in the Resources Management Team, late reports aren’t permitted and there has been a huge reduction in their appearance.  Hopefully soon we will be out of the need to sign stuff with a pen as well.

Once we have all the jigsaw pieces in place we can then start to address some of the areas across the business that consume vast quantities of the white stuff.  As much as twenty per cent of our office space is taken up with paper storage and so we still have a long way to go.

So is World Paper Free Day a good idea?  Yes, it has brought a renewed focus on one of the issues we have been addressing over the last few years.  It has also made me realise that I am not alone.

Please do not print out this blog.

About philjackman

Guerrilla Worker, strategic thinker, occasional maverick and reluctant over-achiever with an interest in culture change, creative opportunities and regional development.
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