The Paperless Office: What Is It and Is It Attainable?

More than 40 years after the idea of the paperless office was predicted, the average workplace still relies on paper in its everyday business processes. Despite all of the hoopla surrounding this concept, paper usage has not declined at a significant rate since its original prediction to do so back in 1975. In fact, an estimated 15 trillion pages are printed worldwide each year. While the prediction may have been premature, modern workplaces are indeed less reliant on paper, and that trend is only going to continue. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the paperless office entails, and whether or not an office free of paper is actually attainable.

In theory, the paperless office is one free of paper documents, a workplace that instead relies on electronic forms and automated business processes. These alternatives to paper documents are facilitated through the use of technology, such as computers, scanners, document management software, servers, electronic workflows, and cloud computing, which combine to create a digital environment in which our information is created, stored, and managed. The paperless office does offer those organizations that realize it significant benefits, including:

• reduced costs
• easier access to information
• greater collaboration
• improved compliance
• greener processes

While the technology is available to facilitate the paperless office and realizing one does offer value to a business, is it realistic? Statistics say some organizations claim to have completely quit paper. However, in reality, at this point in time a “paper-less” or “paper-light” office is a more likely scenario for the average company. Completely abandoning paper documents is a huge leap, a monumental transformation for a species that remains exceedingly comfortable with paper. Not to mention, working with information on an old-fashioned piece of paper still has its benefits.

As we await the arrival of the truly paperless office, is your business looking to go paper-less or paper-light? We offer hardware and software solutions to help you decrease your reliance on paper, while automating business processes and more effectively managing your information. Contact us today to learn more.