But are we really saving time with technology? And, if so, what are we saving time for?
What Computers and Automation Promised
There are still plenty of lawyers around who are, shall we say, experienced enough to remember drafting documents on typewriters. Word processors offered real time savings, as lawyers could copy and paste text rather than retype it. Similarly, fax machines made communication quick—at least until email came along!
This expectation that technology would save time and make tasks easier went well beyond the work world. Transportation has grown faster and more accessible than ever: cross-country and intercontinental flights are commonplace and relatively inexpensive (and that’s before we even get into autonomous vehicles). With the advent of email and then mobile phones, communication is now immediate and effortless. Household chores are constantly being streamlined, first from washing machines for laundry and the advent of the vacuum cleaner, and now on to robotic laundry-folding machines and Roombas.
This theory also rings true for other technological advances: because we can travel across the country quickly and (once we’re through security screening) easily, many executives now make cross-country trips every week. Because email and text messages are fast and ostensibly “free” to send, we communicate constantly and expect responses within minutes instead of days; nowadays, 50% of workers check their work emails when they’re not on the job. Because household chores are easier to do, we’ve adopted a higher standard of cleanliness—meaning many households still spend about the same amount of time on home maintenance despite tasks being done more quickly.
A Better Goal
So, if technology could save us time on individual tasks, but it generally doesn’t, what’s going wrong? How can we take the time we save by working more efficiently and spend it on what really matters?
Sometimes it’s true that working faster allows us to do more work or better work. But we believe that there’s another answer that’s just as important: saving time at work should contribute to employees being able to get home on time.
That’s why we focus on technology that helps you do what you actually need to do—and helps you do it better and, yes, faster. Contracts need to be written; regulatory submissions must be completed on time and according to specs. Using the right technology in the right ways can help you execute your necessary tasks more quickly and with less effort. And that means you can finish your work, leave the office, and get home on time.
Which, after all, is probably the reason that you’re working.