So my work computer fried itself on Monday and I am displaced in my office. My guess is the power source but still waiting on a final diagnosis. If that wasn’t enough the server decided to act up and corrupt a bunch of files at the same time. Some I’ve figured out, others completely stumped. While technology makes us more organized and life easier, especially in my world, it can also be one’s worse nightmare when it decides to become fussy. Bringing my office, which was already in chaos and almost at a standstill due to employee overturn including my departure very soon, to a total standstill.
Technology helps us not to re-create the wheel and one feels it the most when one must re-create the will. At the same time we are facing technology challenges, I am also working to prep the office to go paperless as our state court system also moves to a paperless system. A paperless system addresses a number of needs 1) organize information into a system that is easy and functional 2) become more time efficient by reducing or streamlining steps 3) cut the amount of paper 4) save physical space 5) speed up delivery time.
I have worked in offices before that were moving towards a paperless system, starting back over 7 years ago, but my field is very difficult to break inertia and bring about change. It happens slowly and usually only when we are forced to adapt or die. One of the biggest obstacles to a paperless, or perhaps I should call it a paper minimalist, office happens to be that many employees do not have a firm enough grasp on how to use technology to understand how their job would be made easier by the change. It is almost to the point that new employees have to know more about technology then just how to use word or basic internet searchs.
Thus, I spent most of yesterday afternoon working with two members of my office to carry out a paperless system for their unit. Starting with figuring out what was/wasn’t essential or required for the office to keep, the current computer software they were using and its functionality, and then brainstorming with them to create a file tree and procedures for how the entire process should work from the opening of a file to the closing and storing of the file at the end of the process. Then back to the office to actually fiddle with their software and figure out ways to reduce steps, including reduction of printing and scanning to put documents into the new system. Within 30 minutes, I had identified where the software was storing important documents that needed to be copied into the file tree and how to transfer files, originating outside of the program or sent to us, directly into the program without ever generate a single piece of actual paper. While the office has a LONG way to go, it is a positive first step in the right direction. At this point, it is simply getting people into a new routine of doing things that may be the biggest hurdle to overcome.
With these small accomplishments I am excited to see what I can do with our Ipad and integrating it into my professional life to increase efficiency and thus allow a larger work load.