THE PAPERLESS HOME OFFICE: DREAMS OF ’75 REALIZED

Do you telecommute?   Over 20 million in the U.S. do, at least part time, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   With so many organizations going green these days, why should your home office be any less green?

The term “paperless office” originated in 1975.   The concept was an easy target for intense media ridicule at the time.   The American public was less harsh and more mixed on the lofty ideas of George E. Pake, head of the Xerox Research and Development office, who, far ahead of his time, introduced the paperless concept.     Pake may not have known how we’d get to less paper, but his prediction played out so accurately, it’s a bit unnerving.

Advanced computer infrastructures, desktop computers, scanners, and other technology have indeed helped us become less paper-full, but we are still evolving when it comes to clearing office clutter-much of the same stuff that was around in 1975.   Bigger businesses have more quickly made the leap to paperless, with medium and smaller businesses tending to be more paper-full.

Whatever the size of your business or the business for whom you work, why not be innovative with paper, not to mention other resources, while you work at home?

So, how would George E. Pake rate your home office paper use?   A few questions should help:

Do you print on both sides of your paper?    

Do you use both sides of Post-Its (even if the other side is a little sticky)?

Do you use solely paper calendars versus electronic (e.g. Microsoft Office calendars)?

Do you pay bills, bank, and perform other transactions electronically?

Do you then print out copies of electronic transactions?

If you must print a transaction or email, do you adjust the margins to use less paper?

Do you use shredded paper to supplement your cat box?

Do you own a dry erase board?

Do you have your printer cartridges refilled or replaced?

If soy-based alternatives to petro-based ink were more common, would you use them?     Make them more common and order at www.soyprint.net.

Are your shelves overflowing with book and magazine clutter when you could easily find the same materials on the Internet/at the library and donate yours to a charity?  

Do you have bulky phone books lying around when you could dial 411 or go to www.switchboard.com?

Do you own a flash drive (a much smaller device than a CD for data storage)?

Try implementing even a few of the above and live the 1975 dream for a greener, less-papered home office in 2009 and beyond.

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