Monday, January 7, 2008
As we have all discovered the paperless office never even got close to materialize.
Well, materialize it did. Piles and piles of it.
With a PC on every man's (and woman's) desk page after page of dross became simpler than ever before to produce.
We embraced it as a sex addict would embrace a harem.
Paste and copy and print and print and print and change our minds
and discharge and spellcheck and print again.
6 copies to be on the safe side.
Send out an e-mail to 200 colleagues as well. 54 of them will print it out.
Half of them forgetting to pick it up from the printer.
So they print it again later.
At which time the document has already been changed.
Select print. 2 copies.
And so on.
The headless office is here.
The body-less office isn't however.
With the introduction of the paperless office,
intranet and email and all sorts of connectivity was
supposed to make the physical office redundant.
So why is it that the only people ever leaving the office cubicles once in a while are the smokers?
Leaving your chair empty for a mere 5 minutes is suspect.
Either you're a smoker or you are playing hooky.
Now more than ever before people never ever leave their cubicles.
Evenings and weekends and holidays and vacations included.
Lunch. Order in. Sandwich and a coke at the desk.
6.30 P.M. Pizza, cheese and pepperoni. In the conf.room on 5.
6.47 P.M. Back at desk. Oh shit, that took more than 15 minutes.
Lost a lot of time there.
Not that people do much more than read each others e-mails and copy and paste and print.
But it has become more important than ever before to be at your desk. At all times.
Leave your desk for too long and it may be gone, or more likely,
occupied by someone else who shows more loyalty to the company.
Someone a bit hungrier. Probably demanding less pay as well.
How could you possible justify your time-sheets if you haven't been at your desk?
You may have been engaging in other things than work.
You may actually have enjoyed a minute of street theater,
or worse, simply forgotten yourself on a park bench for a while. Lost in thought.
God forbid. Oh, sorry, CEO forbid.
I read somewhere that we tend to think better and clearer if we take a brisk walk.
I did that once.
When I came back everything was clear.
Even my desk. Cleared. Cleaned out.
If you're absent you're supposedly absent-minded too.
So there went the beautiful idea of working where ever all modern technology would allow us to.
Which is basically anywhere on this globe, the lo at the Holiday Day Inn in Nowhere included.
Guys, time to get back in. 5 minutes is enough already.