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Ten nearly obsolete things at the office

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in HR Issues, Moneyville | 0 comments

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     October 22, 2012

Rotary phones live on in memory and in some stores and online sales. This one? From the 1960s or 1970s.

Rotary phones live on in memory. Are desk phones at the office next?

Andrew Brigmond/Special to the Star


If you’ve been around long enough, the equipment and supplies on your desk are probably very different when you started out. Who would ever have guessed that typewriters, carbon paper, floppy disks and adding machines would one day not be needed?

A survey by the social media site LinkedIn of over 7,000 global professionals has identified 10 more things that you will likely have to make room for in your garage or basement junk storage area within the next five years.

Here’s my take on the top 10 list:

1.    Tape recorders:I junked mine the day a young man at Radio Shack introduced me to my first digital recorder. It plugs into my telephone and then into a USB port on my computer where I store and transcribe interviews.

2.    Fax machine:   I have a combined printer/fax/scanner. I probably send or receive about one fax a month. Scanning and sending via email or uploading to a cloud program is much easier.

3.    Standard working hours: I work for myself so I work at all hours. Although technology gives us the tools to work from anywhere, I’m not convinced standard working hours from factory to farm will ever disappear completely.

4.    Rolodex: I love that if I update my Outlook contacts or my smartphone the other database is automatically synchronized. There is no rolodex on my desk, but I must confess that I have a small, grimy out-of-date one on the kitchen counter beside the telephone.

5.    Desk phone: I still have a landline and I don’t foresee giving it up anytime soon. It’s cheap and dependable even when the internet is down or I forget to charge my cellphone. It’s also easy to find, unlike my BlackBerry which is forever buried in my purse or under a pile of paper.

  6.    Desk top computer: I have a laptop and docking station with a separate keyboard, mouse and oversize monitor – so I might as well have a desk top computer. It works for me. When I travel, I usually take a netbook and a tablet.

7.    Formal business attire: I rarely wear suitsand I can probably count on the fingers of both hands the number of times I have worn pantyhose since I left the corporate world. That said, I don’t think law firms and Bay Street will be junking formal business wear on most days anytime soon.

8.    The corner office: A real office with a door has always been a priority for me as I need absolute silence to think. But a fancy corner office is a different thing. I think this one definitely depends on the corporate culture.

9.    Cubicles: I have only ever worked in a cubicle at one company when it was the default option to sharing an office with a smoker – which could not happen today. I hated cubicles then and I hate them now, but I understand real estate is expensive. However, I think we will see more “hotelling” where employees who work offsite can book a desk for days they are in the office.

10.    USB thumb drives: I find thumb drives really handy when I can find one of the many I have acquired at conferences. But I also love my cloud program that allows me to access work files from my smartphone or any computer.

The problem with getting great new stuff is that landfills are overflowing with all the gadgets we have discarded along the way.
If you have old office equipment, you can always throw a yard sale so your junk gets moved into someone else’s basementc. Also, most stuff disappears quickly in our neighbourhood if it’s left on the curb with a sign saying “take me.”

For whatever is left, check out Freecycle and the Waste Nothing websites.

How to freecycle your unwanted stuff

How to easily get rid of unwanted stuff

How to throw a successful yard sale

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