Monday, 21 January 2008

No print strategy

The end of last week seemed to be taken up with loads of meetings - I have days like that where I go from one to the other, trying to switch my brain into the right gear, and make sure I've read the right papers. Sometimes I've been known to read them as I walk across the concourse. Not in the current weather though! I'm trying very hard to do my bit for saving paper and not printing wherever I can. Most of the papers for meetings are either sent round by email or are in a MUSE group, so as long as I have my laptop with me there's really no need to print anything. I can annotate the papers if I need to, and make notes directly into a word document, which I can then forward to people as necessary. A lot quicker than trying to read my scribbled handwriting in a notebook which I usually lose. It's also a good way of testing the wireless network, which is present in most meeting and teaching rooms, but if I discover somewhere where the signal isn't strong enough I can report it to the voice and data team who soon fix it.

On a slightly controversial note, I am always fascinated by colleagues who arrive at meetings with all of the papers carefully printed out, usually single sided, including the email which says "please find attached the papers for...” often carefully labelled and put into a folder, presumably by a secretary. Most of the time the papers are barely looked at, having been sent for information only, and what happens to them afterwards? Are they carefully filed in a filing cabinet, when all of them are available electronically? I don't have a single filing cabinet in my office, and my PA has got better things to do with her time than print and label papers for me. I'm also surprised that I'm usually the only person round the table with a laptop, this being the 21st century. They're a lot lighter to carry round than huge folders of paper, and you can deal with your emails if the meeting is particularly long and boring. Not that I ever do of course :-)

As a University we printed 68million sheets of paper last year - that's excluding anything done in the Print Service. That's a hell of a lot of trees. So, think before you print.


Anonymous said...

"I'm also surprised that I'm usually the only person round the table with a laptop, this being the 21st century."

Really? Unless there is provision in people's budgets to purchase and support wireless devices for staff I'd expect this to continue to be the case. Perhaps you expect staff to buy, maintain and service their own devices for work use?

Chris Sexton said...

Hi. No, I certainly don't think anyone should have to buy any device for work use. I do expect provision to be made in budgets for equipment necessary to do the job. For many people, a laptop isn't necessary, but the sort of meetings I'm talking about are usually with senior people, most of whom I know have a laptop anyway. What I'm saying is, if you've got one, why not use it?

Anonymous said...

It can be disconcerting to conduct a meeting where several attendees are fiddling with technology - paper is far less threatening - and usually more reliable.

Anonymous said...

I can't see what's threatening about a laptop!

I said...

You've obviously never bumped into one down a dark alley (or gennel for you regional folk!)

I'm quick surprised you attend meetings where people read the meeting notes and previous minutes!

I've found that the first half of any meeting is spent with the chair reading them out and going through them point by point. Why waste time reading them beforehand?

Jonathan Whitehead said...

Perhaps the department could buy several of these EEE Pcs for staff to take to meetings.

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