Paperless Offices – Are They Still Achievable?

Are Paperless Offices Impossible?

For over 40 years, there has been an expectation that offices will eventually go paperless. An article in Business Week in 1975 predicted it, and in today’s era of mobile phones, tablets and laptops it would seem incredibly likely that this goal will be met.

After all, emails and instant messaging systems such as Skype allow us to communicate with others instantaneously, no matter where they are. The development of mobile technologies such as smart phones and tablets means that employees can often work from anywhere and can edit documents on the go.

But take a look around any office today and you will see an abundance of one thing in particular; paper. This goes against the prediction made over 40 years ago, and it also goes against the rise of technology that should make us less reliant on paper.

Employees Still Prefer Paper

According to a survey by Epson Europe that questioned over 3,600 European employees, up to 64% said that they would prefer to read reports and brochures printer on paper. Other key factors in the want for paper in the office are the ability to share/handout printed material (53%), read (44%) and another 41% cited the ability to edit/annotate as a reason.

The ability to spot mistakes easily when editing with paper versus the higher risk of errors when editing digitally was supported by 62%. But more importantly, the majority of those surveyed (83%) felt that a paperless office was unrealistic today.

Paperless Office

Employees overwhelmingly show allegiance to paper still

To get rid of paper in the office would also have detrimental effects on the levels of productivity that employees had, as 86% felt that a ban on printing would limit their productivity. Rob Clark, the senior vice president of Epson Europe, states that “it is clear from our research that – despite digital advances – people still like to work with paper, preferring print rather than working on screen for certain tasks”.

This is clear proof that despite the convenience of technology such as tablets, the humble paper still has a prominent place in today’s working world.

What Do You Think?

Are paperless offices still achievable or should paper stay for good? Do you use paper in the office? Let us know your thoughts.

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Sarah Jubb

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