Is the Promise of the Paperless Office yet Another Jet Pack?

Have you ever thought your organization should go paperless? We’ve seen the potential of a paperless office grow over the past few years, but you’d be hard pressed to find an office that is truly paper-free. Is a paperless office even possible? The simple answer? No. We are moving that direction, but it will take us a long time.

The advantages of paper

Digital copies of documents and communications are nice, but paper continues to be useful in many cases. Even people who work at the most eco-friendly offices, with reduced paper use policies, find a need for paper. Paper can be very portable and quick. You can easily jot down a telephone number on a sticky note and slip it in your pocket or leave your cubicle neighbor a quick note saying the boss stopped by. If you’re in charge of going over important documents prior to release, hard copy editing is often much easier than editing on a computer screen. Sometimes it is easier to spot small typos on a physical copy.

Less paper than ever

Paper is starting to become less and less important.  Many of our past paper processes are now able to be performed on a computer. Team communication is managed via email. Even instant messaging has taken the place of paper notes to coworkers. Smartphones and tablets have taken over the need for a physical calendar/schedule system. If you take a look back at how far business has come in the past decade, it’s pretty clear that paper, while not fully obsolete, is no longer 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.

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