“Will there ever be such thing as a paperless office Steve?” I wish I had a pound for every time somebody has asked me this question! I am not sure if it is completely possible but I do think we will all reduce the amount of paperwork we handle.
I believe the answer may lie in generations. My Dad loves to have paper in front of him, to read, to make notes and to hold it physically. I must say I am the same, I would much rather read the paper, than read articles online, that is my preference. I was quite lucky, I went to school in the 1990’s when computing and the internet really took off. I remember seeing the first computer when I was in year five, around nine years old. Our school managed to get hold of a dozen computers using Tesco shopping vouchers that parents would send in after their weekly shop! It was in high school when I really started using computers to do projects and essays. I think my Dad used to use slates, possibly a quill!
“I probably shouldn’t admit this since I work in the tech industry, but I still prefer reading paper books.”
Sheryl Sandberg [C.O.O at Facebook]
We grew up in completely different generations but both of us still prefer paper having physical documents in front of us. I believe the younger generation will be much more used to reading, working and completing tasks without the need for physical documents. My five year old niece Isobel is already competent on the iphone and knows her way around. In fact it amazes me to watch her and somewhat amusing that she knows how to work it better than Granddad! My dad and I are dependent on paper; I believe my nieces’ generation will rely on paper much less.
During the technological boom between 1980 and 2000 global paper consumption doubled. People were able to print off documents quickly, but technology was often unreliable. Computers crashed a lot, therefore there was an attitude that the document was not properly ‘backed up’ until it was printed. Technology has improved, as has the reliability of computers. Although the world has moved forward with the introduction of paperless billing and document scanning, the demand for paper worldwide in 2012 exceeded 400 million tonnes, the largest so far.
It also remains unclear whether the economy affects the demand the worldwide demand for paper. In our experience we have managed more paperwork for some clients and less for others. We have taken on new clients recently that have reduced their office space as it was simply not needed. After all, it is much more cost effective to store offsite than to store in an expensive City Centre office.
It is difficult to predict when or even if the majority of offices will move to a fully paperless document system. At L&R we cater for the businesses that use physical documents, a fully managed digital scanning process or a mixture of both. We will continue to provide these services and support our clients by understanding and adapting to each businesses individual requirement.