The Papermore Office – What Can We Do?

Oscar does a great job of pulling together recent research on the “paperless office” (yeah right):

Our production and consumption of paper is destructive to both our environment and humanity. Yet, alongside with the digitization of information we continue to produce and consume more and more paper. The global consumption of paper has increased 20 fold over the last century and has tripled in the last 30 years alone. One report showed that our paper consumption increased with over 93% during the period 1983 – 2003. Despite having access to technologies which allow us to produce, distribute and consume information digitally, we now print more than ever.

After reviewing the data on the costs and impact of paper, he provides five simple actions:

– Set a PDF writer as the default printer.
– Place the printer far away from the workplaces at the office.
– Set a limit to the number of copies that can be printed per job, something which is possible on many printers
– Consider reporting printer use by dept or user
– Incorporate video into documents, paper can’t play video

… as well as 6 tips about reading material on the screen.

My Comments
1. Buying a bigger screen – 23″, 24″, 27″ or 30″ – can make screen-based reading easier. It enables putting two documents side-by-side on the screen, with a readable resolution, and eliminates the need to print one to work from.

2. Talking about cloud-based services for backup of documents, some such services also enable access to documents from multiple devices. Eg., SugarSync will sync your files for access from multiple devices, including the iPad. DropBox, apparently, goes a step forward and will synchronize your files to the iPad, for offline / disconnected access and editing.

3. A mobile device is a must, in my view. Otherwise you are tied to your computer, and can only read while you’re there. Having a tablet PC (such as the Lenovo X200 series) or an iPad means you can carry your documents and files with you, and read them away from your desk. It also enables ease capture of notes and ideas when you’re on-the-go, and then synchronize those back to your main computer. Evernote is great in this regards.

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