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The Virginia Engineer's Guest Articles

Taming the Paper Tiger in the Digital Age

August, 2005

Manage Your Paper and Digital Information to Increase Profit, Productivity and Peace of Mind
By Barbara Hemphill

The ability of an employee to accomplish any task is directly related to his/her ability to find the right thing at the right time. Research shows the average worker spends 150 hours/year looking for information – and is a statistic which doesn’t account for the time spent recreating information which already exists somewhere in the company, or lost opportunities resulting from misplaced or uncollected information.

Here are some questions every business owner should ask:

Paper or Electronic?
Although computers once promised us the paperless office, research predicts that by the end of 2005 there will be 50% more paper in offices than there was in 1995. Even more significantly, a study by University of Washington School of Information found that only 10% of the people surveyed were happy with their ability to access electronic information.

Since the arrival of computers, the majority of the information management budget is spent on technology, while a large part of their information remains on paper. At the same time, businesses discovered that “going paperless” did not result in “instant organization” – and involved far more expense for hardware, software, and human resources that they ever dreamed.

In years past, businesses had “central filing systems” Now the central file room is gone, and file cabinets are scattered in various areas around the office – with no one person who can identify what they contain.