In the movie The Shawshank Redemption the unforgettable character Brooks is released from prison after fifty years. The world in which he is released is scarcely recognizable. He hasn’t changed much, but the world has. As the owner of a completely paperless company, I can imagine how he feels.
Estranged from the outside world
Brooks was ‘institutionalized’. He had gotten so used to life behind bars, that he became estranged from the outside world. He popped into my mind when I saw someone visiting our company holding a blocnote. A blocnote… The very concept had become foreign to me. After working paperless for seven years, I had become estranged from the idea of a blocnote. It made me wonder: are we, as a company, really that different? Or have we at Decos become institutionalized in our own way?
If you, like myself, greet the robot at the reception, don’t even notice the giraffe behind the desk anymore, and relieve yourself at paperless toilets, well then, yes, you’re probably a little bit strange. But the thing is: you barely notice that change in yourself. You are just as estranged or ‘institutionalized’ as the people around you.
Return to sender
You only realize you think differently and are used to another reality, when ‘outsiders’ visit your paperless realm. Management teams, school boards, MBA students - they all come to us to see first-hand how we work. And that is quite an eye-opener for them.
The reverse is true as well. We are frequently being asked if we don't use flip-overs. My honest response is that I haven’t seen those for years. And what about our mail? Well, all paper mail is sent back, we don’t even open it. Contracts? Digital files of course. Just click approve and you’re with us. It’s not exactly rocket science.
Impossibilities are nonsense
What we like about showing people our company, is that our feet are once again planted firmly on the ground (and let’s be honest, we need that from time to time). The flip side is that entrepreneurs, civil servants and students leave the premises full of inspiration. It happens regularly that someone who has visited us, after a while sends us an email and tells us of his or her new paperless life. They write that they have cleaned out their cupboards, got rid of their printer and now work completely digitally.
We are not in the business of moral appeals. We don’t preach. Decos is a commercial company that merely wants to show that sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship can go hand in hand. Of course, we like to be the example others follow. Not because the world will go to smithereens if we don’t change our ways, but because the new world is so much cooler. Let us know when you are ready to join. Until that time, we will remain happily institutionalized in our paperless realm.