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What do a tablet and a sparkly pen have in common?

By Rebecca Bromwich: Enterprise Acquisition Manager, Telefónica UK

I recently saw an article on the Director website asking if the pen is mightier than the keyboard. I read this piece with interest as it talks about pen and ink having cognitive, as well as therapeutic benefits. This got me thinking: as much as companies are now embracing digital ways of working more and more, there appears to have been a massive resurgence in creative pastimes too. You only need to wander down the magazine aisle of a supermarket to see shelves adorned with colouring books specifically targeted at adults – with scenes ranging from winter wonderlands to tropical paradises. I shall freely admit to having recently spent many an hour with a pack of crayons and a page full of butterfly outlines, and I can certainly vouch for the happy nostalgia that this activity brings.

My company, Telefónica UK, is a firm believer in the business benefits of going paperless. This is unsurprising, as I work in the Telecoms / IT industry and digital is what we do. Our “Paperless Office” initiative is everywhere. Despite our leadership team encouraging donations to our partner charity (the NSPCC) every time a piece of paper is spotted in your grasp, there are still a handful of people who aren’t so keen on relinquishing their pens and paper. In fact some look as though they would dare you to prize those notebooks from their dead, lifeless hands before giving them up (I sympathise, I really do – some are just so pretty!).

We talk about work being a thing that you do and not a place that you go. And with businesses now having a significant number of employees spending large amounts of time out of the office, companies need to ensure that staff have as seamless, secure and connected an experience as those based at a permanent desk. My working life has become so much easier by being able to complete tasks on the go, rather than having to log on every time I get home from being out in meetings all day. I regularly make use of coffee shop or train wifi, or even working from a lay-by or car park using 4G if I arrive somewhere early – it means I can make use of what would otherwise be “dead time”, and it keeps me productive and efficient in core working hours.

So does that mean that I have given up pen and paper completely? No, not quite. I can happily doodle my way through calls and meetings (in my defence it’s been proven to increase concentration and memory recall). I still love my notebooks, and look back fondly on many a Saturday afternoon spent in Eagle Press Stationary shop, salivating over the reams of coloured paper, sparkly pens and notepads. And don’t even get me started on the scented rubbers and pencils that smelled of strawberry shortcake when you sharpened them. Eagle Press is a burger joint now, in case you’re interested – but I digress (through gritted teeth and tears).

My conclusion is that there is more than enough room for both traditional and digital working styles. In fact, for a more productive working day and a healthier, more stress-free life, I believe that a combination of both is absolutely essential.

What do you think about digital working versus the good old pen and paper? Have you fully embraced the paperless way, or like me do you find there is room for both? Email me here or visit our website to see what products and services we offer to help you work more digitally.

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