Are we really ready for the Paperless Office

Files of PaperHave you every wondered why we still fill out forms? Whatever happened to the paperless office? Did someone forget to fill out the form to have the forms removed. It’s crazy in today’s workplace we still need forms, yes actual paper forms. Why?

The purpose of a form was for someone with no knowledge of a system to inform someone else of their requirements, whose job it was to then enter it into a ‘Database’. Wow!

Now when this whole form craze started, it seemed like a logical thing to do, because not everyone had computer skills, plus you could also send those things through the mail. No, not Email, the actual snail mail that your friendly postman delivers, and you can still do this today. Kinda timeless really.

Fortunately, ever since someone first came up with the paperless office idea, man and woman has being trying to get rid of those darn things, but sadly the paper form still exists today. In fact I had to complete one the other day to get my broadband connected and no it wasn’t because I didn’t have an Internet connection. I actually had to download the form from the Internet. There is some irony in what they made me do, I just know it.

I’d like to think this was a once off occurrence, but even in my last job there were recent attempts to get rid of paper forms, and wait for it, convert them into electronic forms, because apparently people are still too dumb to enter the details into the ‘Database’ by themselves. Of course they’re not too dumb, it’s just the people making the decisions think it’s too hard to provide an interface for the end use to directly enter the data. So we continue down this ‘form’ road and years later I’ll still have fodder to write about the insanity of electronic forms.

OK, maybe I’m being a little too harsh, because it’s gotta be hard right, trying to interface your Systems to the end user, just like on the Internet. Whoa, back there horsey!

Did I just imply, that real people, are trusted to enter data on the Internet? Wait, let me get my head around this. Maybe I’m missing something. Perhaps the form you fill out on the Internet is being printed and sent to another department for data entry, or is it possible that the data goes directly into the database. This stuff really blows my mind.

So how can we fix this problem? Sack the Decision Makers because they are too dumb to realise replacing a paper form with an electronic one is just another waste of peoples time and energy. The real solution is to provide an interface to the system, and if you can’t do that then your systems are outdated. Save up your money and buy new ones.

We all want to feel valued and have the opportunity to work on something meaningful, don’t we? After all it’s hard enough going to work each day without feeling like you just wasted the last 8 hours of your life.

I feel for those amongst us that still process those forms, not because they fear they could loose their job if the data had been directly entered, but because one day they will look back and realise they missed an opportunity to do more fulfilling work.

It’s up to the Decision Makers to wake up and address some real world problems, ignorance is no longer an excuse. If you do most of your work on the Internet, then you already realise a paperless office does exist. For the rest of us, we will just wait until the dumb people making the decisions are replaced with the smart ones taking the orders.




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