We all have that person whose office seems like a holiday in asthma-ville. All those bound musty papers, invoices, and receipts gathering dust in one corner of his/her office awaiting the coming of our lord auditor and almighty IRS. The cleaner knows well enough to not bother navigating the stacks due to the sensitive nature of the information filed away. It used to be the office of the accountant, but these days, secretaries and HR office seem to top the list of hoarding clutter and paper. HR personnel and secretaries have had to be wise over time because of claims of “I didn’t see/get anything” seem to be cogs in the wheel of efficiency for the organizations they oversee. Doubly-copied, personally hand-delivered and signed-for letters, boldly written memos posted on strategically placed notice boards with extra copies for reference. Anything less has resulted in accusations and counter-accusations, a tense work atmosphere, loss of business opportunities and lawsuits that damage both reputation and pockets. Of course, all that paper churning results in a towering stack of files and papers that gather dust over an indefinite number of years, but what is that but a small price to pay? 

As with all things technology has made easy and more efficient, computers and electronic mails and e-memos have reduced the need for paper copies while also increasing the occurrences of convenient I-didn’t-see-its because of the difficulty in monitoring personal computers and their owners’ correspondences or accidental (???) deletions of important information. HR personnel is then put in conflicting situations of trying to meet an increasing number of regulatory and compliance requirements while trying not to violate privacies as well keeping the work environment sane. 

Journaling allows for the proper management, monitoring, and documentation of all correspondences including emails and instant messages within an organization. It is an effective tool that could be made to capture recipients, message content(s) and times of correspondences. Although concerns of invasion of staff privacy come to the fore and questions on the ethics of journaling raised. Trade secrets are the stuff competitions are made of and organizations have a right to protect their own interests. Also, acts of harassment and victimization cannot be only proven by audio-visuals from the company’s CCTV cameras. Harassments may be written correspondences and organizations have a duty to nip such actions in the bud and protect their staff. In any case, journaling can be tailored to be selective where the admin can mandate the journaling of certain communications if they pass specific rules set by him (or them) or if certain words are used. WIN-WIN situation for everyone involved.