The Paperless Office Paradox & Accommodating Millennial Talent

The Power of a Paperless, Tech-Rich Morning Life

A paperless office is important in fueling millennial ambition as it lends itself to efficiency, and millennials are beginning to feel the disparity between the way they live their lives as consumers and how they work within traditional offices. Let’s walk you through the normal routine of today’s average millennial, John, to give you a better perspective of what this means.

John wakes up early each weekday at 5 am for his morning run. He relies on his Fitbit to log the progress of not only himself, but his friends as well – tracking whether they’ve logged more distance for the morning than he has. He then returns home to an apartment with a pattern door lock, one which makes the code combination not easily visible, replete with integrated Braille.

He feels the room warming, as he’s calibrated it to change temperature at specific intervals throughout the day. He eats breakfast and lets Bio Tank, a new dishwasher technology, not only clean the dishes but also turn the food and grime they produce into bio fuel.

And then he heads to his not so paperless office: an environment conducive to many of the byproducts of unhappy millennial workers.

What Happens Once John Gets to the Not So Paperless Office

John arrives to his job as a paralegal for a law firm. He sits at his desk and opens his email. There he is asked to send casework via email to another party without encrypting the information beforehand, because he doesn’t have the office-approved technology to do so.

He forgets that he has a presentation tomorrow because the sticky note he left on his desk to remind himself fell off his desk, swept into a dust tray last Friday evening by cleaning personnel.

A client then belatedly faxes important information to him regarding an upcoming court case. The fax machine receives the document, but is low on ink and muddles an important part of the document. John then emails the client an email about the issue, asking him to send the document via email.

Despite the sensitivity of the information, the client follows his requests, sending the file via email. Although John can now see the print in the document when in digital form, the information could’ve easily been breached via email interchange—a scenario that’d irreparably damage the law firm, and a potentially painful reality for a practice specializing in giving legal advice.

John aspires to do so much more than the mediums he’s forced to contend with each day allow him to. He realizes how little time he has at his disposal to work on case management and pursue his dreams in the legal profession when walking back and forth to the printer, fax machine, and filing cabinets he’s supposed to store and retrieve information from each day.

John leaves work drained, uninspired, hopeless, and on the verge of a bureaucracy-induced mental breakdown, his professional vision devolving into something so dull and dry it could be made a side plot in the film Office Space.

What Happened, and Why It Matters to Take an Office Paperless

Although John began his morning with a tech-rich and progressive environment, he felt held back by the mediums used to transact and conduct business in his law firm upon coming to work. Does this merely illustrate how millennials need to crack down and deal with traditional ways of working, or does it imply something more portentous and significant? That portentous and significant thing being that failing to rely on paperless office technology and software (including other cutting edge tools) signifies the failure of our contemporary working life—the failure to make our work as efficient as possible and give employees the tools they need to develop professionally.

12 a.m. in the Mourning

After John hits the pillow, he watches the clock strike midnight, pondering the abrupt shift in routines he will inevitably face tomorrow as he faced today. He thinks about how no matter how his day will go in his morning routine, that he will be faced with the same perfunctory tasks at work until time wasted leads to the perdition of his professional legal dreams, and, ultimately, the dreams of all others bogged down by paper-dependent processes, and therefore not realizing their full potential.

So, there you have it. Millennials aren’t necessarily lazy; many of them just feel bogged down by office processes that predate their existence. How will you accommodate millennial talent moving forward?

By | 2016-12-15T11:58:11+00:00 November 14th, 2016|
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