Monday, July 2, 2012
The Panda Bear on Ice Cream, Fax Machines and Automated Phone Systems
The Panda Bear Blog is a blog about an ordinary person working on the clock living on times that are too busy.
The death of the Panda Bear's father has disrupted the Panda Bear's schedule. Her house is a mess and she has failed to keep up her diet and exercise routines. She had a hard time doing everything before Father Panda's illness and death and has the Panda Bear has fallen even more behind. Slowly she will pick up her old routines. The Panda Bear is having to help Mother Panda more and is spending more time with her. Mother Panda lost her spouse of 54 years and for the last few years she and Father Panda did almost everything together. Mother Panda Bear has the challenging task of building a new life.
The only bright spot in the Panda Bear’s attempt at healthy living is that this summer the Panda Bear has successfully resisted ice cream. She figured out some of appeal of ice cream is that it is cold. She has found very cold fruit (some fruit the Panda Bear will put in the freezer for a short time) a satisfying substitute for ice cream Cold watermelon is good in hot weather. (Though not as healthy as fruit the Panda Bear will sometimes eat a frozen waffle that is still frozen-it is still fewer calories than ice cream). True there are "diet" ice cream products but l fruit is much healthier than diet sweets.
It is a thesis of the Panda Bear Blog that technology can make us work harder not less. There are two technologies that the Panda Bear believes that increased the time and amount of office work; these technologies are the fax machine and automated phone systems.
The Panda Bear remembers the simpler times in the office before there was a fax machine. New paperwork came in via the mail which was once a day. The Panda Bear could organize day around the time which the new paperwork arrived. . Then the fax machine was introduced. New paperwork came in throughout the day. The number of phone calls increased because people called to ask whether you had received the fax. In the early days faxes came on special paper that deteriorated quickly, so there was an additional step of photocopying the fax so the paper would be preserved. Then a few days later the original copy got sent in the mail so one had to review the paperwork and throw out the duplicate copy.
Though now faxes come in on regular paper, the Panda Bear still has to do with the faxed copy and the original coming in the mail a few days later. The Panda Bear thinks that 95 percent of what is faxed could simply be sent through the regular mail; waiting an extra day for it to come through the mail would not be a crisis. While e-mail, like the fax, is going on constantly and causing interruptions, e-mail does have some labor saving functions. It has replaced memos and phone calls. The fax machine saves no labor. It merely adds the additional step of having to deal with a faxed as well as an original copy. Its introduction has made people want things faster for most of the time without any good reason.
The second technological innovation which has caused an increase in wasted time is the automated menu systems on phones. People both personally and professionally can spend over 15 minutes just getting through different menus before they can reach a person. Sometimes after going through three or four menus, people will find that they have reached the wrong phone number for their purpose and they need to contact another number which will have its own automated system.
The Panda Bear thinks that customers and clients should be demanding from organizations the ability to quickly be able to connect to a live person without going through these endless menus. People should be demanding that organizations have more respect for their time.