Imagine an office with little or no paper. There would be no ugly file cabinets or overstuffed inboxes. No trashcans overflowing with paper. No paper littering the tops of every flat service available. No wasted money on reams and reams of paper, printer ink, or storage space.
Right, we’ve been dreaming and talking about this for quite sometime now. In fact, according to Wikipedia, it was 1975 when ‘paperless office’ was first mentioned in an article in Business Week. With the introduction of the personal computer, it was thought that we would not need paper, but, of course, we all know what happened…even more paper was generated.
Thirty-five years later, I have just seen a remarkable example of a ‘paperless office’. eBridge Solutions held there ribbon cutting to their new office building a few weeks ago. eBridge is a local company that offers a web based solution for document management. After passing through the front of the building where the receptionist and the owner’s offices are located, you move into a large room. All of the offices that line both sides of the room are glass with glass top desks in each. They are definitely practicing what they are selling. There is one small filing cabinet in the whole place. Yes, there are papers that are still needed, which is why Barbara Hemphill, a thirty year veteran in the organizing industry and productivity expert has coined the term, ‘Almost Paperless™’.
Barbara has trained and continues to train an international team of Productive Environment Specialists™. I am one of the specialist. Our mission is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment. I work with another Productive Environment Specialist, Ann Cueva, and we attended the ribbon cutting together. For a couple of Productivity Consultants with eighteen years of experience between us, it couldn’t get much better than eBridge Solutions office building. We work with small companies to help them prepare and transition into going almost paperless and would love to make this office building a field trip. I believe if companies saw the space, more would see it is possible to live and work without paper.
The tour of the space allowed us to see it all. The offices have shelving for books and such with attractive containers to hold personal items and other things. There were sleek looking wall organizers for periodicals, and oh, how serene the offices were without paper files everywhere. Scanners were a norm on all of the desk tops, because with eBridge, you either scan your paper or print from you computer directly into your web-based filebox. The middle of the office building had cubicles with desks that didn’t have a paper in sight. The most prominent glass room was the very large room in the middle of the space that holds all of the servers, and it was quite impressive, secure, and large which shows there is room for growth.
Behind the server room was space for the employees. They have an exercise room, a full kitchen, and an area to relax which included a pool table. These things must have gone a long way in making eBridge Solutions a finalist in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work competition and third in Florida Trends Best Places to Work (small business category). Oh, and the kitchen…fully stocked with real dishes and utensils, no paper here either (or plastic). This is just another sign that eBridge really does have a commitment to the environment.