The Paperless Office: Fact or Fiction?

We’ve been hearing about the paperless office for what seems like years now, yet most office buildings today still depend upon fax machines, copiers, and forests worth of paper documents. Is the paperless office just like the personal jet pack? Long promised but never delivered? The simple answer? No. The world is still moving toward paperless offices. It’s just taking longer than some would like.

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. You can easily scribble a note and slip it into your pocket. Even the most eco-friendly offices still find uses for paper. If you’re an editor, you know how hard it is to edit a digital copy. A lot of people prefer to 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’s no myth. Employees do the majority of their writing with word-processing programs. Rather than 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 last decade. Paper, though not obsolete, is no longer king.

The future

Clearly the future of the office is using less and less paper, but will it ever be truly paperless? Will notepads and sticky notes go the way of the milkman? Possibly. Let’s look at the milkman: some still prefer to have their milk hand-delivered to their homes, but the majority of us just pop out to the store and pick some up when we want it.

Paper will likely end up exactly the same. As we turn to business solutions such as the cloud, smartphones, and computers for invoicing, writing and spreadsheets, there will always be people that prefer the physical  feel of pen and paper.


About tsgnetworks

TSG Networks provides IT services to businesses and non-profit organizations that wish to focus on furthering their missions by leaving technology to the experts.
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