The O2 paperless experience

by Rowan Jameson: Managing Partner of Business Services, Teléfonica UK

In case you didn’t know… we’re going paperless. Last year we kick started our #O2Paperless initiative to explore the benefits, for employees and our business, of working without paper. I’ve already confessed that it wasn’t an easy process to begin with, but some major benefits were soon apparent. We were able to share, edit and distribute information more quickly and more securely while saving paper in the process.

As we enter 2016, I thought it would be a good time to gather some other views on the O2 paperless experience to see what people struggled with, what they’ve learned what their ambitions are for 2016:

“Being able to access information from multiple devices helps me to work on the move.”

Mielisa Evans, from my team, was one of the first to jump on board. Mielisa found that taking notes on paper made it difficult to find the information she needed. She was also having to frantically scribble to capture it in the first place. Now, her notes are synced using OneNote and available across her smartphone, tablet and laptop. Feeling lost without the notepad is a thing of the past:

“By using OneNote, taking notes instantly became much easier. Being able to recall my notes across multiple devices helps me to work on the move. It did take me a while to break from old habits… at first I did like to scribble some paper notes after a meeting. But after a while I got use to taking all the notes I needed digitally, helping me to leave the meeting feeling confident and ready to focus on the actions.”

“They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit.”

It seemed that paperless working is infectious. Once Mielisa ditched paper, Sam Calverley from her team followed her lead. Sam initially believed going completely paperless was impossible. So, he thought about the devices and apps he could use to get started:

“There’s lots of apps to help you and using the right tools makes things so much easier. I’ve used Office Lens to capture photos of expense receipts to upload direct to OneDrive before attaching to my expense claim. This makes the entire expenses process quick and accurate resulting in a faster payment. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit so I’ve binned the notepad and got myself a digital pen! It feels a bit strange writing on a screen and my handwriting doesn’t look great, but I now have the flexibility to type or write and with a little more practice I’m sure people will be able to read my notes.”

“Initially, going paperless was a thought that filled me with dread.”

The more colleagues shared tips and offered reassurance, the faster the initiative spread. By his own admission Rob Sandford, Managing Partner of the Finance and Professional Services team, was a late adopter. But, he took the time over the Christmas break to think about how to start a fresh – and paperless – year in 2016:

“Initially, the thought of ditching a habit of a lifetime filled me with dread. It seemed having my notebook taken away would be as painful as surgical extraction. So, I broke it down. Step one was to decide what equipment to use – I’m using a smartphone, tablet and laptop. Step two was to choose my note-taking software. I went with OneNote as it was already installed on my laptop, it’s easy to sync and I trusted Microsoft to keep my work secure. For step three, I needed to decide how to order my digital notes. Ultimately, I set up notebooks for a to-do list, objectives and meeting notes – and now, I’m a convert and I’m free of my notebook. My next step is to get a stylus to keep the handwriting option when I need it.”

As you can see, at O2 we’re embracing a paperless 2016. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved so far and hope that sometime soon, we can remove the ‘going’ from ‘we’re going paperless.’ To find out more, you can visit our website to read our other paperless blogs or join the conversation using #O2Paperless on Twitter.