Monday, June 7, 2010

Digital Detox

A friend reminded me today that even though technology has made our lives so much easier and productive, we cannot forget that some age-old methods of getting tasks done are still effective. I was online completing a form that required a phone number and I didn’t have the phone number handy, while I was conducting a search on the internet, my friend got a regular phonebook and found the phone number before my page could load to show me the results of my search.

This made me realize that our fast, convenient gadgets are not always the most reliable. I thought about how prepared I was as an administrative professional for the possibility of a loss of the technology that I use each day. What if I couldn’t access the internet? If my files were lost, how could I do my job effectively? Here are a few ways to prepare yourself for the worst:

1. Backup electronic files.

Most businesses have an IT department that may take care ensuring that your files can be accessible if your computer crashed. But what if the IT department couldn’t access those files either? The IT department is just like any other department and they are not immune to system crashes and viruses although they should be more prepared. So what do you do?

As second in command of the office (next to the supervisor- we are really first in command because everyone rely on us, but we like to let supervisors think they are first- don’t tell the secret!) we should have a plan B if we are going to have to work offline.

My suggestion would be to backup your documents, electronic files, spreadsheets, etc. on a thumb drive that has sufficient memory; some people burn CDs of their files. In the event your system crashes or you get some terrible virus, you will be able to access documents and work on another computer while IT restores your data. And your supervisor would not have a heart attack because you need to print the materials for this week’s team meeting. A good practice is to perform a weekly backup of documents and files.

2. Backup SMARTPhone Data.

I have a Blackberry and would hate to lose my contacts and calendar, but stuff happens. Each day, I use the Blackberry Desktop Software to sync my computer. My contacts, tasks, and calendar are updated if there are any changes. If you don’t have the software, copy and paste the following link in your web browser Did I mention that it’s FREE!

3. Organize paper files.

Even though we are encouraged to “go green,” there are still cases for which paper files are needed. Keep paper files organized so that just in case you need to access them, you can get to information quickly. Schedule a day or time to file loose documents so that your area is “clutter free.” Statistics show that 6 out of 10 administrative professionals touch the same piece of paper at least 21 times a day!

As an office professional, we are charged with maintaining and managing the office, this includes preparing for worst case scenarios and having an alternative plan. The possibility of losing electronic files due to viruses, crashes, and downed servers are situations that require a Plan B. Do you have a Plan B?


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