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From the author of Improving Worker Productivity

Improving Worker Productivity

Large quantities of paper on work surfaces create a feeling of being overwhelmed, which tends to paralyze workers, causing procrastination and avoidance of important tasks and activities. Getting rid of the paper clutter helps individual workers to focus better, improving their productivity. Working in a clutter-free workspace leads to deeper concentration.

Reducing the paper pileup also gives workers the option to work in other environments. Most workers are located in the "active-communication" zone every day. This zone is usually at a person's desk, where the computer and phone are located. In this area, workers check email, manage day-to-day tasks, and conduct central communications via email and phone. It's a busy environment where employees are accustomed to multitasking and providing immediate response. This location is often in an office-wide "open" setting, conducive to employee interruption. Although this is a necessary and primary zone for most workers, it isn't the best zone or environment to accomplish certain tasks (such as reading, writing, development, and strategic thinking) that require more thoughtful attention, concentration, and less external distraction. Being paperless gives workers the flexibility to work in other "zones" to increase their effectiveness.

Another way to increase worker productivity is to create more automated processes, replacing paper-intensive procedures. Before going to an automated paperless system, it's important that you understand completely how paper inhibits or improves a particular work process. Often, a worker's attachment to paper, as well as lack of trust in equipment such as computers, inhibits processes from becoming more automated. However, inefficient work practices can often be blamed on out-of-date and obsolete paper processes. As they move toward paperless processes, companies often find these processes to be an improvement over traditional paper-based processes, because searches, retrieval, editing, communication, and archiving can be done more efficiently and quickly.

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