Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paperless Bees

The big debate in my workplace right now is about going paperless.  Do we want to do it?  If so, is this the right time?  These simple questions do not have simple answers.

The business I work for provides space, equipment, office supplies, and staffing for over a dozen professionals.  Each one is a private contractor, not an employee of the business, so the business owners can't dictate working conditions outright.  On the other hand, all the professionals are motivated to embrace anything which might make their practice more efficient.  Will going digital truly be more efficient?

My consultant quoted a professional in the industry who has already gone through this process.  He said:  "It's not easier, but it's better."  That is a pithy quote, but it doesn't help this office make the decision.  Do any of you out there have experience with computerized offices, especially the transition to such a system?  I would love to get your feedback.


For those of you who couldn't care less about paperless office transitions, here is an alternate topic: giant bees.  I am told by Ken that these are carpenter bees, so-called because they chew through wood to build their hives in buildings and presumably trees.  The ones I've seen around here are at least an inch long and wear yellow, fuzzy vests, unlike the photo I linked to (which I picked for the sheer impressive size of the bee).

My first encounter with a giant bee was outside the grocery store on the first warm day of spring.  The bee was hovering and bobbing in place at around waist level.  It appeared to be completely lost and confused.  I stopped to stare at it, because I'm not scared of bees and I was fascinated by it's redonkulous size.  After a little while it flew five feet to the left, made an approximate figure eight, and flew back to hover in front of me some more.  "Bee, go find some flowers!" I told it. 

When I came out of the store it was gone. 

Later that same weekend Ken and I went for a walk in Earl Bales park.  On our way from the parking lot to the trail, we passed a wooden building.   A group of giant bees were hanging out by this building,  swooping around uselessly.  Ken was alarmed and gave them a wide berth.  Having already experienced the apathetic personality of one giant bee, I figured if I didn't bother them, they wouldn't bother me.  I walked straight through their turf.  I was either right or lucky.

Later that evening we went for dinner on a patio partially sheltered by sliding glass doors.  A pair of bees showed up.  They must have liked the looks of my sweet potato fries, because they started trying to fly through the glass right next to my face.  Clunk, clunk, clunk, went their dumb little heads on the glass.  If they had moved five inches east they could have flown in through a space between the glass doors, but they couldn't figure that out.

Later on one bee did make it's way in, and promptly started trying to fly out through the same window, right next to me.  Clunk, clunk, clunk.  We had to comandeer an empty drinking glass and a spare menu to capture the bee and release it outside.

If you have any interest in viewing these freakish bees, head up to North York, and soon.  If Darwin's theory is correct, they are too stupid to live, and should be going extinct pretty soon.


DarcKnyt said...

Wow, a HUGE bee. Have you seen pictures of the Giant Hornet from Japan? Lethal sometimes. They're ginormous and mean.

Big bugs. Stuff 50s sci-fi movies are made of. :)

I think "paperless" is sort of a misnomer, isn't it? or are you really talking about no more paper of any kind in the office? I'm not familiar with how that's done, but that's going to make having state-of-the-art computer and back-up equipment, off-site storage and data recovery plans a full-on, everyone-needs-to-know-this sort of standard work instruction, isn't it?

Interesting thoughts. Let us know how you progress.

G said...

I think I've mentioned my opinion when people equate paperless with less work.

No way does it mean less work. Still need a paper trail when things go kablooie.

Big Bees...kewl.

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: By paperless I think we mean we're going to have less paper, not be completely paper-free. Trying to be completely paper-free is probably impossible. And yes, it requires off-site backup and disaster recovery plans blah blah blah. All wonderfully stimulating and enriching topics of discussion.

G: My opinion is that adding more technology makes a business more scalable, but it doesn't simplify anything. You still have problems, and those problems are more complicated and expensive to solve than the previous problems.

DarcsFalcon said...

Holy cow! That's some bumble! Wow.

I have seen lots of pictures of bees who've built hives inside the walls of houses, between the studs and the homeowners don't realize it until there are so many bees that the walls start buzzing. Scary stuff.

Lynn said...

Good luck with that paperless thing - I think there are a lot of cases in which it works, but my workplace is still awash in a sea of paper. :) I have a leadership position in a volunteer organization and I've tried to not have printed minutes, but everyone insists on them. Sigh.

It's good to hear there are bees out there somewhere - they seem to be disappearing in the south.

Sparkling Red said...

DarcsFalcon: I may not be scared to walk past a bee outside, but I would be completely freaked out if I had a beehive in my house. Just thinking of the walls buzzing gives me the creeps!

Lynn: Indeed, I'm guessing that we won't use much less paper overall. People are too attached to being able to physically hold material. The only difference will be that the paper will not be stored. Everything will be read and then scanned and shredded. Is that an improvement? That's what we're trying to figure out.

Jenski said...

Holy big bee?!

I try going paperless for work and bills. I end up reading a LOT fewer papers than I should for work?! Get everyone two monitors - then you can have an extended desk top with one file open on one and still be able to type away on the other. It's amazing.

Anonymous said...

I have companies I do business with who are trying to go paperless and are encouraging me to switch to paperless invoices.
Here is how the conversation usually goes.
Them: Would you like to switch to a paperless invoice?
Me: Will you take 5% off the invoice?
Them: No.
Me: Will you take any amount off the invoice?
Them: No.
Me: Then shut the heck up and mail me the damned invoice.

My favourite is when my bank and cell phone company started charging me to send me a bill. They never charged before, now they charge. Okay, sure I discontinued to mailed statement to save the two bucks but shouldn't the two bucks have come off from the base of the bill and not this extra new "papered billing" charge.