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Paperless Office: Businesses Retire Printers as Electronic Documents are Used More Frequently

By Dick Weisinger

COVID-19 caused a big downturn in the use of paper in the office. Businesses were forced to operate with many or most workers working from their homes. The result was that much less paper was able to be pushed around and there was an increased use of electronic documents and processes. While the volume of paper snapped back in 2021, the decline of paper is expected to accelerate.

IDC expects that this year as many as 47 percent of knowledge workers will be working remotely, a number that has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

Ilona Stankeova, senior research director, Imaging Devices & Document Solutions, IDC Europe, said that ‚Äúpages printed at home will not offset declines in offices as organizations and governments continue to pursue paperless initiatives and digital transformation agendas. In 2025, there will be around 2.3 trillion pages printed. Despite the decline this amount still represents about 4.4 million pages being printed globally every minute covering the area of 39 football fields every minute.”

What are the advantages of a paperless office?

  • Saves Money. Less money spent on paper, toner, printers, file cabinets, and office space. Less money spent for mail and courier services. People work more efficiently with electronic documents compared to paper ones.
  • Saves Time. Data is easier to search and track. Sending documents becomes instantaneous. File organization can be automated.
  • Green. Elimination of print materials like paper, ink, and ink combined with elimination of physical transportation means that there are fewer greenhouse gases used. The cloud and electronics are not without green guilt, but overall, it is a net win for the environment.
  • Better Security. Electronic data is more easily tracked and secured than paper. With electronic document management, it is much easier to audit data to know who and when had access to which data. Very fine grained controls on security can limit access users to only the information that they have the need to see and use.
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