Document Dilemma

Managing your office environment

Apple Stores across North America take pride in being paperless environments. They use technology to circumvent reams of paper, with only an occasional departure from their paperless guidelines. Apple may be the exception, rather than the rule.

If memory serves, it wasn’t long ago when “experts” were forecasting that offices around the world would phase out paper. Not due to environmental pressure, but because cutting edge technology would see paper as the 21st century equivalent of papyrus scrolls.

As we all know, forecasting is risky business; the nightly news weather forecast has morphed into a “Meteorological Report.” And it’s still not accurate!

My point is this – all the forecasting experts, computer geeks, laptop marketers and business wizards got it wrong. We are infatuated with paper. Every computer station in every workplace is effectively a desktop publishing enterprise, even a small printing empire. And this is the problem. How do we manage, file and organize all this paper.

Apparently, according to a new group of experts, many of us don’t. For every desk that’s in perfect order, there’s another covered in a chaotic mess of printed material.


Contain your stuff. Don’t let your belongings spill onto your colleagues’ desks, or into the corridor.
Don’t obstruct daytime traffic. If you need to overhaul your filing system and spread all your possessions out on chairs, do it after hours.
Avoid the photo gallery. How much do you really want others to know? Don’t display an album of pictures – a few photos will suffice.
Avoid extra pairs of shoes, or numerous change of clothes. Your cubicle is not your home closet.
Be cautious with foliage. Plants can drop leaves and leak water; do not cultivate a jungle. Remember that others may have allergies to certain plants.

And finally:


-Bring in a fridge, a toaster or coffee maker.
-Leave dirty dishes on your desk.


-Curb your enthusiasm for interior design. It may end up looking like “inferior” design.

Please let me know your thoughts. Is your desk polished and poised for take-off or covered in document debris?