The enterprise is a multi-layered entity, with many moving parts. From the customer-facing front lines to the managerial middle tier and all the way up to the executive boardroom, everybody needs to do their part, and leverage whichever tools are necessary to get the job done.
That's why it isn't surprising to see that paper is still a very relevant and useful format in the average organization – staff members, managers and CEOs alike all find value in hard copies, despite getting to grips with the digitization trends that have swept the globe in recent decades.
To pinpoint exactly why paper is still so essential in the workplace, let's take a look at the vital role it plays at all levels of the typical organization, and offer some tips on how to keep processes optimized with this time-tested format.
As the gears that keep the organization moving along, employees represent a major contingent of the enterprise, and when it comes to preferences for productivity, their opinion seriously matters. And when Epson Europe commissioned a study of over 3,600 employees this year, 77 percent agreed that printers played a key role in helping them accomplish more in their daily routines, according to the Saudi Gazette.
Furthermore, 83 percent of respondents stated that the concept of the paperless office is not a realistic one, suggesting that paper really does prove essential to accomplishing tasks in lines of business. Employees, especially outspoken millennial staff members, know what they want, and business leaders need to deliver on these demands if they want their organizations to prosper in the modern era.
"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," Rob Clark, Senior Vice President of Epson Europe told the source.
Tracking the progress of projects, supervising lower-level employees and reporting to supervisors is all in a day's work for the average manager. Simply put, they're caught in the middle of it all, and their responsibilities are wide ranging as a result. That means that managers need to send, receive, process and analyze information at all angles, and when it comes to accomplishing these tasks, paper stands above all – even digital formats.
"Arguably, paper is the greatest instrument ever invented for conveying, sharing and disseminating information," explained thought leader Jack Uldrich, as quoted by the Saudi Gazette. "In fact, recent scientific studies have demonstrated that people understand and retain information presented on paper at a far higher level than information presented electronically."
Consider all the tasks that managers must complete on a daily basis. While some of them can be tackled in a digital environment, in many cases it is easier to simply jot down notes and absorb information from hard copies. It's also helpful from an archiving and storage perspective to keep paper backups of key records, as managers may need to loop back on a specific project months down the line.
In the boardroom, things move fast, but digital note-taking and collaboration have not yet caught on in the executive arena. Not only is paper a more reliable and secure format for CEOs and their associates, but it is also a great supplement to a presentation or a creative brainstorming session. According to The American Genius, some of the world's best executives even say that when it comes time to jot down that big idea or keep track of their schedule, paper rules.
Furthermore, executives call the shots and make final decisions in paper form – this has always been the case. From signing on a big deal to closing out legal documents, the boardroom sees hard copies as the be-all end-all. As organizations move forward in the digital age, they must not forget the foundations they were built on. Paper will always be a part of enterprise dynamics, from the bottom to the top.