There was an article published by an analyst from Arthur D. Little on BusinessWeek in 1975 which stated that paper use would start to decline from 1980 and that it would nearly disappear by 1990. Fast forward to the present day, over 40 years later, and the usage of paper has increased by nearly 400%.
Increase in Paper Usage TodayThe peak was in 2007, with a slight decline since then. Paper producers have a higher revenue today than they did in 2011. When you consider workplaces going paperless in today's age, it is clearly visible that there is not much progress made. Some of the increase in paper usage can be attributed to the rise in awareness about plastic pollution. When compared, paper is lesser of the two evils. There have been a lot of environmental campaigns surrounding the harmful effects of plastic, and paper was seen to be a convenient alternative. Regardless of the environmental benefits of switching to paper from plastic, the fact still remains that an average worker in the United States uses about ten thousand sheets of paper each year. If stacked, it would come up to over three feet tall. If one was to stack all the paper used in offices in the United States each year, the pile would reach halfway to the moon.
The Process of Going PaperlessGoing paperless is a slow process. Over time, people have weaned off of using postal services and switched to emails and text messages. Similarly, people have moved on from using newspapers as their daily source of world news to different media like television, their phones and tablets, etc. Overall, people are comfortable with using electronic gadgets instead of paper, but for some reason, the same shift has not managed to occur in office spaces.
The Benefits of Going Paperless
ProductivityOne of the biggest and most forgotten benefits of going paperless in an office is the increase in productivity. It is also one of the most compelling benefits. Documents stored electronically can be instantly available for access to anybody across the company. They are also available for use simultaneously, so two people can work on the same document without having to be in the same working space. It is also time-saving and improves the workflow among employees, resulting in better teamwork.
Cost SavingsThe ROI on going paperless in offices can be calculated within months. That is how financially beneficial it is to go paperless. Each office worker uses up about $500 worth of paper. This, plus the additional cost of storage, printers, toners, ink, and more, can end up a steep amount.
AccessibilityThe amount of time and effort that goes into arranging, rearranging, and searching for paper documents is tremendous. By saving all the files digitally, this can be avoided.
SecurityElectronic documents can be encrypted and stored in cloud, making it a safer and more secure option than leaving physical copies of files in the office. Access can be monitored, and there are multiple ways of protecting files from cyberattacks.
Customer SatisfactionProcessing of documents and responding to requests is a lot faster when files are stored digitally. Requests can be processed in a matter of hours instead of days. This leads to improved customer satisfaction, which is only beneficial to the company.
- Paper usage has increased 400% since 1975
- This is because of the shift from plastic products to the safer option; paper
- Going paperless is a global phenomenon taking place, with news, books, communication, etc. becoming digital, but office spaces still have not managed to catch on to the paperless shift
- There are many benefits to going paperless in offices, such as increased productivity, monetary savings, better accessibility to documents, and improved security and customer satisfaction