The digital revolution is supposed to have made the use of paper obsolete in the business world, but statistics show that offices are now using more paper than ever. Instead of replacing documents with e-files, companies that are investing in electronic devices seem to be doing so as a means of complementing their paper products. The much-hyped paperless office has not only failed to come to fruition, it has been rendered an idealistic pipe dream with no basis in reality.
UK companies are still using paper in large quantities
Offices were supposed to be paperless in 2015, according to projections that were popularized in the 1970s during the initial growth of computers. However, statistics prove that this is yet another misplaced ideal that the tech industry perpetuated in a manner that did not accurately reflect the truth of the matter.
Recycling Portal reported that, based on a survey of over 250 U.K.-based companies, "green" policies in offices have actually had a minimal impact on paper consumption. The use of print products in the workplace is still prevalent, and paperwork has not diminished despite smear campaigns from the digital industry.
The source found that 74 percent of respondents are using either the same amount of or more paper products than they were in 2009. Perhaps surprisingly, 31 percent of that demographic claimed to be using more paper than in the past, signifying a stark departure from predictions of a supposed paperless office. Recycling Portal also stated that the average U.K. resident uses over 400 pounds of paper individually each year, proving that the resource is still a hot commodity in household settings, as well.
Print is still necessary in the modern business climate
The Telegraph asserted that the paperless goal is impossible to achieve due to the various restraints and requirements of doing business. Customers have widely indicated that they prefer to use paper while making transactions, the source said, rendering print a vital component of profitability. The source cited research from Iron Mountain, a document storage company, that noted the lack of progress that has occurred in paperless initiatives.
Iron Mountain's study found that while efforts have been made to transfer documents electronically on a more frequent basis, 77 percent of all invoices received in PDF form get printed out. In addition, 45 percent of scanned paper documents were created digitally, before being converted to print. Also, 56 percent of companies receive the majority of client inquiries in a paper format, indicating the widespread public preference for using physical products to interact in the business realm.
The Telegraph remarked that while many organizations, especially small businesses, have tried to go paperless, they are largely met with consumer backlash and are forced to rethink their strategies. While in-house functions might run smoothly in an electronic format, customers clearly do not appreciate their transactions reduced to the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. As long as this sentiment exists – and there are no signs that suggest it will cease to do so in the foreseeable future – print companies will always have opportunities to remain profitable, as they provide necessary products services to businesses in need of them.
Tech experts have been trying to dispel paper's worth in the office for decades now, but it is becoming more evident with each passing year that this idea is simply wrong. Paper has proven to be a necessary commodity for businesses that aim to function at a high level and meet customer demands appropriately. Attempting to operate without it has proven to be a fruitless endeavor.