Our vision at O2 is to become a truly digital organisation, allowing us to enjoy the increased efficiency and productivity associated with technology. Along with Work Wise UK, we are continuing this journey towards the digital workplace.
For centuries, we have relied on paper and its many variants to write letters, publish books, create artistic masterpieces and do, well, pretty much anything. Not anymore! The time of paper is ending as the digital age gathers further momentum yet no one company has yet laid claim to going entirely paperless. At O2 Business, we plan to do precisely this in the first week of June.
Digital technology has become so integral in modern culture and society that the vast majority of us would be at a total loss without internet access or our smartphone and we know that it can help significantly increase productivity in our working lives too. At O2, we recently commissioned research into the impact and perceptions of technology in the workplace. It showed that 40% of Senior Managers acknowledge that technology improves collaboration, sharing of resources (34%) and increased efficiency (37%).
It has never been easier to go paperless. We have the apps and tools, quite literally, at our fingertips to ensure the transition to digital can be a reality. During the paperless week in O2 Business, we have committed to using smartboards, handheld devices, virtual meetings and cloud-based sharing and storage tools to ensure that we can be as, if not more, productive than usual.
We’ve even gone the extra mile by enlisting the support of an internal digital team to support those who may have any technical or operational issues; this team will be easily available via Instant Messaging, phone, email or, if you’re feeling old-fashioned, drop-in. It won’t be easy to break the pen and paper habit but it is a sacrifice well worth making – particularly when we look beyond the confines of the corporate world – at the facts around paper production and consumption.
One of the United States’ foremost biologists, Edward O. Wilson, has claimed: “The cutting of primeval forest…fuelled by the demands of the growing human populations, [is] the overriding threat to biological diversity everywhere”; a statement corroborated by recent studies. According to the WWF, deforestation between 2000 and 2010 led to a loss of 13 million hectares of forest, each year. This ecological problem manifests itself in numerous ways: reduced biodiversity; disrupted water cycles; greater greenhouse gas emissions, increased soil erosion and disrupted lives to name but a few. The widespread, and often superfluous, use of paper has contributed significantly to this deforestation.
Globally, about 388 million tonnes of paper is consumed each year. In Western Europe alone, we consume 76 million tonnes and produce 96 million tonnes. Furthermore, experts predict that by 2025, the total production of paper worldwide will have increased by 104 million tonnes to 494 million tonnes. Clearly, this is not sustainable. It is necessary to adopt smarter methods of working if we are to preserve the already fragile global ecosystem.
With all this in mind, at O2, it’s out with the old and in with the new…for a week at least. We have identified key tools and apps to enable us to work smarter and save paper. Box, Evernote, OneNote, Lync, Just Call Me, tablets and virtual meetings are just some of the ways we can ensure paperless-ness. It’s our way of testing the art of the possible for both ourselves and our customers – we feel a digital strategy is of crucial importance to the businesses of today and those of the future, and believe that we can build a case for change by identifying and overcoming the challenges and demonstrating the benefits ourselves.
Business Director - O2