Category Archives: SPA Secondary Paper Activities

The Last Post

Well I will say that this is the last post for the site SPA Paperless Office Project the reason why is that times have changed the site will have a new name and a new look complete with a totally new area to the paperless office, it will still have the roots of the S.P.A Foundation and still built around what I believe is still one of the fundamentals of achieving a paperless environment.

What will the new site have, a purpose built Management Efficacy SPA Template Tool and an Efficacy SPA Paperless Template Tool plus a few others.

How will the site be designed, it will have a new looking reader friendly screen a new external link friendly system plus the all the usual posts that are connected to the paperless environment for the person who wants to understand and read thought and interesting posts that are connected to this subject.

The site design will constantly be updated to improve the reader’s experience.

What will be the site called? To keep in line with the original thoughts of the first web site the name Paperless Endeavour will hope to keep the ever lasting and changing environment that to a certain degree will always try to keep up with the Technologies advances and break thoughts that are always trying to improve the world we live in weather it’s in the office or associated Technologies.

The new site will be launched in January next year, so I hope to see you then, other wise have a wonderful Christmas Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Martin Smith

SPA: How much money is it costing your company?

The last post I wrote was just a small note trying to explain what a SPA is and how is can effect the paperless system and also the office environment.

If I told you it could cost your company approximately £17.29 or should I tell you it is already costing your company £17.29 per month per computer.

Source of information company for the  employee average

Year 2004 U.S States only (excluding establishments)

Employee (100 to 499) small companies                      86,538

Paid Employees                                                                        16,757,751

 16,757,751/86538 = 194

Average employees 194 say 20% have computers averaging it to 38.8 computers per company.

 Calculations from my Hypotheses Testing Frame Work

£17.29 per computer per month

17.29 * 39 = 674.31 *12 = 8091.72 * 86,538 approx £ 700,241,265

So from the above figures and the average calculation, it’s costing  approximately £ 700, 000, 00 a year in a less efficient system just because we have ignored the small notary paper items such as SPA.

I have just designed a template which will be available in the New Year which will be free to down load when my new website will be launched both will be available in the New Year

If you know that an every day routine or action within the work place is costing you money would you like to know about it.

Would you have a closer look at this information I think in general you would.

I think the main thing about this activity is that it’s been within our work environment for as long as we can remember so to have an answer over night would be quite difficult to predict, although this has been the first stage of what I believe may be one of the problems for the development of the paperless office.

There will be a few more posts before this site changes to a new site and by the way the new site will be called The Paperless Endeavour.

Is SPA Just note taking?

I have written this post for various reasons. I have spent the past two years studying an area of what I think is connected to an important area of the paperless office not only to the office environment but to the paperless environment.

I still think that this subject is very important not because I have provided calculations that it exists and tried to bring it to the attention of anybody who is connected to the paperless environment but as a building block to try to understand how an interaction of written communication which is not directly connected to your computer main frame or connected to the office PC can be classed as a paperless system.

And to this day you can not state that you are running a true paperless system if you still perform SPA’s within your work office or environment.

Could you state that SPA’s are just a form of note taking ! to a certain degree this could be true but there is an underlining point to make that if these items are still performed within the office and people are still using paper to perform these actions, why have we not found an answer to the problem ? 

Most of the people who will read this post will probably say that there is not a problem with this area and if you look at it on the surface then you will be right but if you look at the whole of the area within this field you just might open a door to find the answer with regards to a bigger picture.

Could this be the interaction between people in the office which are still using written communication between colleagues and not having the software or hardware that is commercially acceptable and commonly used within the office.

Then it might just make you think about what a paperless office or paperless system is or what it should represent.

I think what we all agree that SPA’s or software programmes by themselves are not just the answer for a better paperless system it can cover all areas from management and attitude and a way of thinking to really bring the message home that the paperless system could and will benefit companies from saving money, ROI, work flow efficiency, better working conditions and also a greener environment and all these things are connected to a paperless system.

I write this post because it’s time to move to the next satge SPA’s will still play a big part of the site and certainly will still be used as the foundations of what I have mentioned above.

If you still believe that SPA’s are still just a form of notes then you will be pleased to know that I have enclosed some links to say exactly that.

The above links are apps that you can buy for your I pad and they represent exactly that, software that has been designed to take notes and small messages which you can use with your I pad.

Have a look at the links and see what you think ?

My background to the paperless system is that of an academic back ground and with attending university next year will continue for another couple of years yet with hoping to look at the paperless system once again in a different view.

Origins of Secondary Paper Activities

The concept of the paperless office started around 1975 and certainly taken it’s time to progress into a more active and useable system that in real terms due to it’s technology advances should be in every office and certainly a lot more advanced than it is at the moment

When I started to research this concept one of the main areas that stared to point out was the non acceptance of the concept in general. One of the books I was reading was the well know book Myths of the Paperless Office , by Abigail Sellen and Richard H.R Harper, although the book was entitled Myths of the Paperless Office the book was with a slight undertone  towards the investigation of new insights about how humans handle and process information.

Part of there research progressed to a conclusion that both the authors realized that paper and digital technology each has certain central “affordances” the other lacks. That is, one “afforded” capabilities, functions, and conveniences that the other could not.

To break this down into a more understanding term, then you could state in general terms that one action must have a reaction that meets the first action.


If a square peg is traveling towards a round hole, at the point of when it starts the square peg already knows that it will not fit into the round whole. The so called “affordances” area is what the other lacks.

Another way of looking at this is in a slightly different way. If the square peg is a motor car and the round hole is a motor bike, this is what you would call a total opposite reaction, because as the motor car will not push or drive out the motor bike another example of this would be the typewriter has not pushed or driven out the pen.  

So how I did I come to the conclusion of SPA, I had to look what was in the “affordances” (the middle bit that keeps moving from the peg to the hole) and totally forget about the square peg and also the round whole.

One of the research was that at  London Air Traffic Control Center where there was so many pieces of paper floating around the air traffic control tower that in theory it would have been difficult to transfer this from of communication and transfer it through a electrical devices or a connected networked system, not to the extend that software application capabilities could not be written but the social and human interaction would be difficult to copy and the human intervention would cause the affordance to ripple even more.

After examining various other areas most of which blamed and looked at  technology stating that it was not quite designed for the paperless office, this of which I totally disagree, with there theory, technology will never be ready and never be acceptable for the Paperless Office.

Having a closer look at the bit in the middle “affordances” area and trying to understand what the are the problem areas one certainly came to my mind, that was the section with regards to the air traffic control room, not because its mentioned in the book, but for various reasons, there will always be some request for paper in the respect that it will be required as a communication tool, SPA is certainly an area that will be questioned with regards to how to small notes can be transferred into any electrical device and also connected into a network system not as a  answer to the paperless system but an area that if this could be answered the overall design could be a lot easier to understand.

From my surveys with Bradford University it was noted that SPA can be calculated up to 34% of activities within a typical office environment so the remaining % has already started to fit into a system that has stared to be accepted.

So a truer understanding of the middle area will be better understood and in time the investigation of the peg and the round hole will be looked at in more detail.

What is a SPA Activity ? (Paperless)

If you look around your office you will be amazed to see so many different types of SPA Activities there are.

Hear is list of the typical SPA Activities

  • Writing in Std A4 note pad                                                                                    
  • Post it Notes                                                                                       
  • Manual report writing                                                   
  • Short reminder note                                                                                                     
  • Short reminder note in files                                                                                                
  • Manual notes from meetings                                         
  • Telephone reminder/message notes                                                           
  • Manual dairy/meeting notes                                          
  • Index Cards                                                                                                    
  • One Off Instruction sheet                                                                                      
  • Completing pre typed sheet      

These are just some of the activities that are present in everyone’s office.

If you can calculate how many SAP Activities are used to each office computer within your company and then use the Free SPA Table, you may have a good idea what it may be costing the company with regards to a less efficient basic management work flow system.

If you are fortunate to have a bespoke Paperless Office system does your system accommodate for these SPA Activities if not then you will be able to calculate the efficiency deficit.

Or if you are a panning to have a Paperless Office installation you can ensure that the system will include the SAP activities or part provision has been made for this.

Introduction S.P.A Secondary Paper Activities

To understand the Cultural and Sociability aspect of the paperless office this blog has stared with what he believes is the most important factor concerning the potential growth of the paperless concept.

The Blog has had to introduce a new meaning, to an area that plays a big part to the understanding of the Paperless Office. The author of the report has only found one other meaning, Harper and Sellen, (2002); and this was more an associated meaning regarding an overall area covering various factors.

The found meaning was called avoidance (avoidness) Harper and Sellen, (2002); This covers various factors such as how we read a piece of paper to how we interact and behave to paper as a communication device between ourselves and others.

This is mainly referring to the chapter in the book Harper and Sellen, (2002) Myths of the Paper Office which discusses the Air Traffic Control Tower communicating with small bits of paper this is mainly due to how the Control Tower communicates between colleagues because of how the communicating installation has been designed

Secondary Paper covers the area of paper activities which you would class as small notetary, small notes, small messages, written notes, communication that is not in paragraph form or long sentenced to together.

In the modern office today a large amount of secondary paper activities exists probably even without knowing that you do this activity. A large percentage of these activities are common practice but unfortunately the existing paperless office systems do not cover this activity.

This new possible aspect to the paperless office may have an underling effect on why the paperless office has not grown to its full potential. The secondary paper is an issue that has to address if the concept want to become an acceptable system.

To the Authors knowledge a facility study covering this type of communication of secondary paper activities has not been published before, this will also indicate to what type of secondary paper activities exists and also what type of figures this may cover within a office department.

The secondary paper issue must be covered and explained to the extent that is has to be recognised as a factor when discussing the Concept of the Paperless Office. It can not be disregarded or overlooked to what we are classing is the Paperless Office at the moment.

Introduction (Blog)

This blog will provided an understanding of how the user perceives every day technology with a view that the existing technology may be inadequate for the use in the design for the Concept of the Paperless Office.

The blog will identify problematic areas that are associated with sociable cultural technological advances and a relevant undiscovered new area of Secondary Paper Activities which looks at hand written paper notes which are used as part of every day activity within the office environment. 

The blog will clearly identify that the above areas are affecting the progressive system with relation to the paperless office concept complete with an understanding why the paperless office has not received recognition as a product or a place into day’s society.

The readings and literature material associated with the Paperless Office Concept used for this blog clearly indicated a lack of information with regards to why the paperless office has not progressed to the level expected. The research showed that there was only one main publication that addressed the social and practicality of how the user has reacted to the technological interface with relation to the paperless office.