Having worked in the Financial Services industry for 28 years, I have seen how technology has progressed and how beneficial it can be.
Looking back to when I first started work in 1987, there was no computer in the department I worked in and only two phones. Even in my second job we shared computers!
Nowadays I’d imagine this would be unheard of as we tend to take technology for granted.
Back in 1999
When I started at Gibson Lamb in 1999 although there were still paper files, they already had a document management system, to which documents could be scanned on and linked to. This was the start of taking away the need to keep a paper file.
Since then the document management system has evolved and is getting better with each software update.
We are now a paperless office and I love it!
The process of going paperless at Gibson Lamb started in 1999 and we were completely paperless as early as 2006 – which I know isn’t something many firms can claim even nowadays!
The benefits are obvious – but in case you need a reminder:
- Access to everything without leaving my desk
- Time Saving
- Space Saving
- Everything can be done online
- Not having to do the annoying things I used to have to do – that I didn’t even know were annoying back then!
Walking to another room to get a file
For my first few years at Gibson Lamb our files were kept in a separate room upstairs from our main office, and were held in boxes alphabetically – but if anything had been misfiled the one I wanted could take a while to locate.
Of course once you had the file, the documents should have been in chronological order – again this was not always the case!
Now when a client or insurance company rings with a question and rather than saying “I will have to ring you back once I’ve looked at the file”, the information is right there in front of me without me needing to leave my desk. I can leave my desk for important things now, like making tea!
Waiting for information
A lot of time was taken up with having to get information over the phone – this can be time consuming especially if you are held in a queue.
If the information was not able to be given over the phone then you would have to wait for this to be posted to you – most insurers have turnaround times of 7-10 days.
Now with so much information readily available online and also the introduction of email – information can be accessed and received in a much more timely fashion.
I didn’t realise it back then, but it’s amazing how much space is required in a non-paperless office – filing cabinets, in trays, out trays, post pigeon holes, photocopiers, fax machines….the list goes on! We used to have 2 floors – the top floor was all for files!
Now we don’t require a large office and without filing cabinets, photocopier or fax machine, we actually have more space!
Having to stand at a photocopier to takes copies of documents to put on file, or even filing the files themselves can be very time consuming.
Within reason the majority of my work can be done by just the use of a computer, a scanner and a printer and I can get things done quicker and more efficiently.
Technology is a wonderful thing and makes my work life now a whole lot easier and less cluttered than when I started! I just have to remember to take screen breaks more often and use the time I save to make tea for my wonderful colleagues!