The paperless office

The paperless office hasn’t happened, but there is at least some progress. The majority of companies have decreased the amount of paper-based information in their organizations over the last five years. And the larger the company, the more paper is disappearing.

More than two-thirds of companies with more than 10,000 employees have decreased paper in their businesses, based on a survey of more than 2,000 executives and managers by NFI Research.

The bad news is that about half of small companies have seen paper increase in their organizations. People who work at smaller companies tend to keep more paper, with 72 percent saying they keep either everything or many things.

However, managers at large companies are making great progress, with more than half keeping as little as possible.

“The reason the paper has increased is not because I want it to,” said one survey respondent. “It is instead the necessary outcome of keeping more and better records.”

The great irony of the paperless office was that technology would make it possible. The reality is that technology has made it easier to increase the amount of paper used. High-speed printers make it easier to print more frequently, and print several versions until it is right.

Technology also has caused some people to print just in case something happens to the technology. “The one great hazard is when the computer decides to fry itself and with it go all the online records,” said one respondent. “Though as rare as flood or fire, it does occur and in its wake there are reconstruction challenges.”

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