There are certain times to print and particular times to go digital. In this world, it's impossible to go fully electronic with the popular preference for paper and how beneficial it is for the public. There doesn't always need to be a black and white choice between hard-copy documents and digital. As long as companies can recognize the need for paper, they can learn to balance both mediums.
The world has been evolving because of the many innovations in technology, including ereaders and document management software. However, the preference for traditional mediums still stands, and businesses have to find a way to keep this in mind when implementing new strategies in the workplace.
Keeping paper as a beneficial option
Companies need to decide what kind of comprehension is necessary for particular documents. An infographic by Pixel and Print Logic helps readers determine whether to use digital or print. According to the infographic, a document that needs to be read or used for more than 10 minutes should be printed. Digital documents don't encourage the deep reading hard-copy papers do.
According to The Guardian, a study presented in Italy last year found paper readers were more empathetic and immersed in what they read over those who read from an ereader.
"When you read on paper you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right," Anne Mangen, a lead researcher for the study at Norway's Stavanger University, told The Guardian. "You have the tactile sense of progress, in addition to the visual …
There is a time to focus on comprehension rather than just skimming over the product. Businesses need to recognize this. Paper has a purpose and provides more beneficial factors for readers than digital does. Digital has its uses as well – it allows employees in an office to look over a memo quickly and throw it away without wasting paper. However, for bigger projects, hard-copies are necessary.
Knowing why readers prefer traditional
Digital Trends discussed why traditional readers treasure their heavy books. Paper doesn't require electricity and it's easy to share. Readers don't need to deal with copyright infringement when they share their hardcover books. It's easy to collaborate as a group on a paper project rather than working on a digital one – either the team is stuck huddled around one computer, or they have to work on separate devices, which can eliminate the feeling that there's a team at all.
The Pixel and Print Logic infographic recommended paper users print on both sides when possible. Offices should also take care to recycle cartridges to keep paper use green. The environmental benefits of going digital are questionable, as It takes quite an amount of energy to create an ereader, while it's possible to replace the trees that were used to create a stack of paper. The Guardian added that no one should make the assumption people would prefer a technologically advanced environment over the traditional paper-and-pen approach.
"I don't think we should assume it is all to do with habits, and base decisions to replace print textbooks with iPads, for instance, on such assumptions. Studies with students, for instance, have shown that they often prefer to read on paper," Mangen said to the source.
Before any office decides to go paperless, it should consider what exactly its employees want. Converting all documents to digital may save money, but it can sacrifice employee happiness. The best way to balance digital and paper is to figure out what kinds of documents will work better electronically converted and which need better comprehension as hard-copies.