Editor’s comment: A hands-free office

OPI Editor Felicity Francis on office tasks impossible to carry out with one hand.


This column took far longer to write than usual because I have broken my wrist (yes, sympathy please), and now have a metal plate in my arm to use to alarm airport security. I’m in the process of discovering things in the office that are impossible to do single-handedly, for example:

  • Remove pieces of paper from plastic envelopes without using my teeth – this is very frustrating and I welcome any suggestions for products that simplify this
  • Take the lid off my lunchbox, so I’ll be going hungry
  • Wash up mugs (excellent)
  • Multitask by holding a phone to my ear and typing an email at the same time; perhaps I should invest in an award-winning wireless headset system by Plantronics (read about all the European Office Products Awards winners and how they got there)
  • I also can’t take notes while on the phone, so I may forget to do a lot of things
  • Card tricks.

The list goes on but on the other hand, I can still make an adequate cup of coffee so no excuses to delegate there.

Consumers are always looking for products that do half the work for them, to make life quicker and simpler. Now they don’t have to do the work at all with initiatives such as managed print services (MPS). In the Big Interview, Sean Fleming and Greg Welchans discuss why dealers really have to offer MPS in order to survive. 

But how far will this go? As technology becomes more sophisticated the office of the future will look very different. Having a broken wrist wouldn’t be such a problem if I had a voice-controlled computer – the iPhone 4S is almost there. One day we might walk into an office to see people simply thinking, controlling machines with their minds. Where will OP fit it then? Martin Wilde asks that question in Final Word. For now, I’ll just rely on people to open my lunchbox for me.