Blogs & Thoughts

Time to cut the umbilical cord

Several years ago, I turned up at a workshop with my boss, armed with a dozen colour copies of a 27-page PowerPoint presentation.

Continue reading
  • Author Chris Carr
  • Date 04 December 2020
  • Read Time 2 minutes
Man sorting through a cramped and messy filing cabinet

They were double-side printed, but still. Then we discovered an iPad hidden in a drawer that still worked and that meant at least I could go paper-free. Baby steps, but still progress.

Now the thought of taking a single paper copy of a presentation along to a client seems utterly ridiculous. Paper usage has certainly dropped in recent years. If your sole business was to make filing cabinets, I know you have now diversified into something else.

We’ve been gradually weaned off our attachment to hard copy. Now it’s time to cut the umbilical cord that is our old-fashioned concept of the need to have ‘stuff’ to hand just in case.

If someone called you right now and said there was a fire in the office and you could save one thing from your desk or your pedestal, what would it be? You’re struggling aren’t you? You’ve forgotten what’s in your pedestal?

I can tell you what’s in mine. A pile of business cards – my own and those that others have given me over the years (most of whom have probably changed jobs several times in the meantime), a bunch of SPACE and HMRC correspondences that I haven’t looked at in years. And in the bottom drawer, where there’s room for filing, a bunch of old reports that are very interesting but only in a historical context. There were a few Tunnocks Caramel Wafers hidden at the back for emergency visits by clients, but they’ve long since found a good home. And on my desk? Two three-high trays of essential rubbish and more pens and pencils than an army of octopuses could ever use.

I have a funny feeling that in the next year our colleagues at Recycle Scotland are going to be inundated with phone-calls asking if they will take pedestals in exchange for lockers. The challenge then is what they do with the warehouses full of pedestals.

Did you know that 2020 is the European Year of Nursing and Midwifery? It seems fitting therefore that now is the time to cut the umbilical cord. We don’t need all that stuff; we never really did.

When the time comes and you return to the office, grab a bin bag and get to work.

Chris Carr, Associate Workplace Consultant

Chris arrived in workplace consultancy following stints as a scientist in the USA and a tour guide in Greece. He is passionate about the interaction between people and the workspaces they inhabit. Over the past six years, he has worked with numerous clients to help them envisage more effective and engaging spaces.