Wifi Woes and Paperwork Flow

Yesterday, I wasted two hours fixing our NBN Wifi. Without internet access, I had to resort to technology from the olden days. I used the phone.

            No, I can't Google the problem. I don't have the internet.

            Yes, I've already turned it off and on again.

            No, I didn't type Google into Google.

            Yes, I can hold. I'm not doing anything else at the moment. I don't have the internet.

It was fiddly and frustrating. I'm sure you've been there. But it could have been worse. I could be living in one of the 1.3 million households with no internet access.

I don't know how they cope. I can't remember what life looked like before the internet. I get bills and do banking electronically. Our Netflix uses Wifi. I keep electronic files.

But I still use paper, too. I print to proofread. I have clients who prefer hard copies. Our board meetings work best if everyone can look at the documents while we talk. Shops give me paper receipts and warranties.

This digital / paper mix is common. Even amongst the younger generations, 2016 research found 74% prefer reading print on paper rather than on screen. Our company's 2017 research found over 95% of respondents had paperwork at home.

Interestingly, businesses in the micro sector rely more heavily on paper. ABS figures show only half place orders and less than a third receive orders via the internet. Microbusiness income attributed to the internet actually dropped in recent years.

This matches my experience. My biggest paperwork problem was when I worked freelance from a home office. I always billed and delivered finals electronically, but I couldn't avoid generating paper. I took notes and wrote specs during client meetings. I printed out draft reports. My clients gave me paperwork.

I couldn't risk throwing any of that in the bin. In Canberra, everyone knows everyone. A single data breach would sink my business on reputation alone, even if they didn't sue. This left me with three bad choices.

1. Buy a shredder and waste an hour each week clearing paper jams.

2. Look unprofessional by handing a stack of old paperwork to the client at the end of the job.

3. Stockpile it forever.

This dilemma's even worse for sole traders with really sensitive information.

I don't mean renegade spies.

What about your personal trainer, masseuse or chiro? Think about the file they have on you. Name, address and date of birth. Age. Weight. Medical history. Embarrassing health problems.


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