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What Happened to the Paperless Workplace?

Here we are well into the 21st century and as I look around me piles of paper and mountains of files surround me.

Why? When this was supposed to be the time of our lives when computers would be doing all of the work for us. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for technology streamlining my life and assisting me in being more organized...I am also well aware of the downside of technology and the sheer mass of "Human Resources" it has eliminated.

Shalini Richards
MQ Co-Editor
Consider back in the late 1980's the revolution of the simple act of buying groceries had changed. Remember when the green bins came out, and even before that the canvass bags to cart your groceries home to reuse again and again were introduced? It seems the thought at that time to decrease landfills and "save a tree" really took off...but what happened since then? Is there no need to save trees anymore? Do we have such an abundance of paper out there that we need to have hard copies of everything? Or is it deeper than that? Is it the insecurity of not being prepared?

Maybe we are masters and destroyers of our own domain. Think about many times have you received a message or documents via e-mail that you print "just-in-case". I think its human nature and we have been conditioned socially, in many ways, to be pack rats of paper on varying levels. For example, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) has made life easier for us by approving the electronic submission of personal and business income tax. However, CCRA still requires every individual to retain all income tax documentation for up to six years. So once again in our fight to become more efficient and tidy-we are forced into submission and penalized if we do not comply.

On the other hand, how convenient is it now when talking to someone about your organization, you don't have to cart around your Annual Report (I know not all of us do that!), instead we can simply forward him or her to our website for more detail. Or instead of taking someone's business card-asking him or her to e-mail their contact information-or better yet lets "beam" our PDA's and then "synch" them into our PC's later. Kind of makes the Rolodex( seem antiquated doesn't it?

I mean look at the Watson Wyatt's and Dunn and Bradstreets of the world. They have the best of both worlds. For a fee, you can have access to information electronically, but if you want it in hard copy, you can get that too! As a HR professional I sit back and think, isn't it great to have instant access to such valuable information that may be updated in a flash. But then my left brain kicks in and I think having a hard copy-being a bound text-would be a great idea..."just-in-case" I can't get to my PC, PDA or my Blackberry(.

So as I sit here with my pen and paper writing this editorial amongst my papers and files, I have to stop and think, where am I going to file these notes "just-in-case" I need them later?

Congratulations to a special board member! Shalini Richards, RPR, CMP, has
been elected to the position of Vice President, HRANS (Human
Resources Association of Nova Scotia). IPM’s Associations
National Board of Directors and members congratulate her on this
exciting new role!


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