The Paperless Office: Fact or Fiction?

The promise of a paperless office has existed for years. Unfortunately, most offices must still use paper on a regular basis. Is the paperless office just a pipe dream that we will not achieve?  In a nutshell, no. We’re constantly moving toward paperless offices, but it’s just taking us considerably longer than we had expected.

The advantages of paper

As great as it would be to have everything in digital format, paper remains useful. The main reason it’s still around is that paper is portable. It’s easy to scribble a note and slide it into your pocket. Even the most eco-friendly offices still find uses for paper. If you’re an editor, you probably know how hard it is to edit a digital copy. Many people would rather proofread important documents in hard-copy format. Frequently it’s easier to spot errors when the file is printed out.  

Less paper than ever

Most offices today rely less on paper than they ever have, and that is no myth. Employees do the majority of their writing with word-processing programs. As opposed to sending written notes to one another, they send communications through e-mail and instant messages. Marketing campaigns are created and stored on computers. Meeting notes are typed in tablets. Meeting agendas are written not on sticky notes but on smart phones. Just think of how far offices have come in just the past decade. Paper, though not obsolete, has stopped being king.

The future

It’s obvious that offices of the future will rely on less paper than even we do now, but will paper ever really go the way of the milkman? Maybe. Some people still prefer having their milk delivered from a local dairy but most are content to pick it up from the store when they need it.

Paper will most likely go the same route and it will be a personal preference as to how much paper is consumed in the office. As many of our business processes rely on digital solutions, there will always be a select few who prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper.


Posted on: 01.05.12