An Online Post-it Note in a Digital Office

Aidan Curran, Communications Officer – Enterprise Applications Group (EAG)

The great Return to the Workplace will no doubt herald a renaissance in pre-pandemic collaborative innovation and productivity, such as the historic 2011 Paris Post-it Note Challenge. That spring-summer season, no fashionable office building in the French capital could be seen without at least one window displaying art—a Pac-Man here, a SpongeBob SquarePants there, even a Mona Lisa rumoured to be ‘somewhere in the 8th arrondissement’—in the familiar yellow, pink, sky-blue and lime medium of desktop stationery. Foreign news outlets such as The Guardian reported on the craze, but don’t take reputable fact-based journalism’s word for it; I was there, living and working in Paris at that time. My workplace didn’t really go in for it, though. For one thing, we were all public sector workers, so plastering taxpayers’ money on the window one Post-it note at a time would not have been a good look.  The director of my corner of the  organisation, perennially bewildered by young people and their pop culture, let it be known that he preferred us to use Post-its only as God intended,- for the passive-aggressive labelling of cheese in the workplace fridge. 

Collaboration in the workplace may never again produce  such great art, but neither  will it completely revert to paper, of any size. Hybrid working is here to stay. Even in a bricks-and-mortar meeting room, you may still experience your meeting as a Zoom call, when  other participants are joining online. The paperless office, a  great aspiration of my former director,  alongside  ‘will young people ever stop listening to that awful racket?’, has finally come to pass, nearly all our files and documents are now processed, stored and even signed online. Also, smart fridges can now be connected to the Internet of Things; bad news for thieves of workplace cheese.

A more discreet type of workplace collaboration, but just as valuable, is the sharing of day-to-day expertise: how to work our photocopier; where to save our files; how to manage registration for our events; where we record our leave and absences – the admin tasks that we all need to get done but which can take up way too much time if we don’t know how to do them. This micro-level collaboration in our offices also contributes to macro-level collaboration across our University. When  we all use the same shared resources for doing these everyday things—’common tools for common tasks’—this helps us work together more efficiently, helps colleagues moving between schools or areas, and also provides more IT and data security for the University. (Incidentally,  for the photocopier, you just press the big button.)

This mantra of ‘common tools for common tasks’ is one of the drivers of the UCD Digital Office project and series of webinars. Here’s where we demonstrate our current range of admin software resources for our UCD colleagues, from the various Google applications to Zoom registration forms to signing PDFs on your computer, how these tools can meet your needs, and how they can even improve your processes. Our Digital Office webinars to date have focused on areas such as time management (e.g. creating a shared calendar for your team), file storage and sharing (e.g. managing file access securely even with external collaborators) and various aspects of collaboration. And to top it all, for your hybrid brainstorming sessions we even have Zoom Whiteboards and Google Jamboard with the pinnacle of digital innovation: online Post-it notes. Colleagues, take your Post-it art to the whole world!

For details of upcoming webinars and links to all our resources, visit the UCD Digital Office website at www.ucd.ie/digitaloffice.

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