“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. “ Thomas Edison
Every agency and department in the federal government are well familiar with forms. We use them for Annual Leave, Sick Leave, CompTime, OverTime, Travel Request, and so much more. Most forms are printed and signed by an individual employee, then transferred to their supervisor for additional approvals and signatures. This is highly inefficient in terms of time, energy, and cost.
I suggest that we move towards PDF fill-able forms with digital signatures. Each form will remain the same. The digital signatures are secured with an encrypted password, so that only the person who knows the password can sign it. Once an employee supplies his or her password, their signature will appear on the document as if they signed it by hand. It is then time stamped with the date and time. From there the form can be emailed to others for additional approval and signatures. By emailing the forms, supervisors will have access to it from anywhere (home, office, or on travel).
If done throughout the federal government, we are looking at electrical savings throughout the country. The average office printer can consume 600-1100 watts while printing. (Results taken from HP and Dell Environmental Data Sheet) Less use of a printer will mean less ink toners will be purchased, less paper will be purchased and used, and ultimately reduce maintenance cost. This will promote sustainability and reduce the United States Carbon footprint.
The administrative burden can be lessened if the files were stored electronically. With a few clicks, an individual can organize and locate files within seconds.