I am old enough to remember faxing. The rolls of paper, the jams, the failure to connect for no apparent reason. Back then it was the future or certainly seemed to be as I can also (just about) remember the post office run as well, envelopes heavy with copies of cv’s that needed to be weighed before sending out to my clients.
What amazes me is that so much actual paper work is still done! A quick look around my office and there are stacks of it floating around. Well, not actual stacks that would be far neater than what I can actually see before me, but nonetheless I am still on the receiving end of a lot of paper.
Some of it, I confess, I print out myself. There is still something to be said for holding information in your hand (probably also why my shelves are still full of books that could be neatly stored away on my kindle). I’m a big note maker and so most of it is full of little scribbles decipherable only by me.
However I am conscious that I am fast becoming something of a dinosaur and really, my house can’t take much more paper! I have folders and folders of information from various training courses that I have been on that I never read through, but can’t quite bear to part with. Unread books on my shelves and packets of photographs (yes, I did just say packets) that really would be much better off being scanned and stored in the cloud somewhere. The problem is one of time.
If only there was a quick and efficient way to scan all of my documents I could finally get rid of the paper that is weighing me down.
Now my experience of scanners, photocopiers and the like is probably stuck in the same place as my memory of the fax machine. In my experience they were inefficient, unreliable and prone to jamming up their innards if pieces of paper weren’t exactly aligned (and do I sound like a perfect aligner of paper … I suspect not). So I shudder at the prospect of making my own home office paperless. Surely it would take me weeks, if not months to wade through it all and what about all of my precious notes?
Back in the day when as a lowly recruiter I would try to scan cv’s and upload them to a word file they were riddled with errors where the text had been incorrectly read and then had to be re-written. Sometimes it would be easier to just type the whole thing from scratch. However, confident that technology had surely moved on, I set about finding out what ‘pain free’ devices might now be available.
Wow, I was overwhelmed. It seems things have moved on a pace and the new range of scanning, intelligent data capture, on-line archiving, paperless office and (bliss) document shredding products could save me a lot of time and effort.
More exciting is the prospect that there are actually companies out there that will do all of this for you! Companies that will take your documents, store them or shred them (if you so wish) and bulk scan them before hosting your content digitally, so that it is there just as you need it!
I take a moment to survey my office and the shelves loaded with stuff. Imagine all of that stuff gone. I immediately feel lighter.
Now what to do with all of that extra space?
Nicola Wilson works for Clear Data, based in the UK. Visit their website for more information. Clear Data are a specialist document management company offering high quality document scanning, management and storage services.