Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on March 18th, 2014

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The 5 items technology made useless in the modern office.


Offices in 2014 can either be vastly different from offices in say 1990 or in some industries, they can be very similar. Offices in industries that are embracing technology are often more modern in decor, but also may seem to be a lot less cluttered. Just like everyday items, there are many items in office environments that technology has made obsolete.

I got to thinking about this today, as I unpacked my bag at the office. On day's I am not working out of our office, if a client came in and saw my desk, they wouldn't think it belonged to anyone. I take everything with me back and forth. I work on a laptop or iPad. I have all my files digital. All my contacts are digital as well. Heck, even finding a pen for me is a stretch sometimes. So, I started thinking about the items that I used to use daily back in my days as an Admin Assistant in the 1990's and how they are pretty non-existent now. Below are the top five items I came up with.

1. Rolodex. I was an Admin/Personal Assistant to the owner of a large consulting firm. I assisted him with meeting planning for the consulting firm as well as meetings and reports for his businesses outside of his main company. I was required to organize the meeting, events, trips, etc. I had an extensive Rolodex back in the day. In fact, I had two. I had mine and a copy of my bosses. These Rolodex were jammed with business cards as well as hand written typical Rolodex cards. Thankfully today, I have no collection of business cards or a Rolodex. I have all my contacts digital shared between all my devices like the rest of you do.

2. Copy machines. In most offices, copy machines are probably obsolete. Sure, I realize there are still industries that require copying, but most keep digital files and print them when necessary. I remember making multiple copies of time sheets, vacation requests, expense reports, you name it. Today, I can email the form to whomever necessary and if required get a completed for back via email as well.

3. Fax Machines. Seriously, if I am requested to send a fax these days it's always a shock. Why can I not just email you a scanned PDF of any form or document you need? Thankfully I no longer have to stand by a community fax machine waiting for a confidential document or have to handle one of those slimy, shiny hard to read smeared faxes of the 1990's. I know, there are now online fax services available, but honestly why pay the fee when you can easily email a form.

4. Typewriters. Ok, I will age myself here. But I used to use a typewriter a ton when I did dictation work. Or for typing out envelopes and forms for the office. I don't miss that hunk of metal taking up space on my desk. Sure, I still obviously type, but I don't have to change ribbons or cartridges, get the paper, etc. I just sit and type and if need be go to the printer.

5. File cabinets. In many industries that utilize technology, you are finding less and less file cabinets. Even in certain doctors offices. A doctor our 9-year-old sees has no paper file on her that he uses when we visit. The nurse has a tablet when she calls us in and then either uses the tablet or the computer in the exam room. The doctor reads her file and any test results digitally and sends her prescriptions via the internet to the pharmacy. Even in our office, we need to be able to access or files from client sites, home offices, etc. We can't be having them stored in file cabinets in one location. Enter the cloud.

So, these are the five things I notice no longer in existence in most offices I visit today. What types are things have you used in the past that you no longer have in your office today? Are there items you are currently replacing with a new form of technology that you believe will soon be obsolete? Technology is continuing to make our lives easier and more mainstream, don't you agree?