The Myth Of The Paperless Office Is A Myth?

from the keep-it-straight-now... dept

For years, we’ve all been hearing that the “paperless office” was a myth. Many of us had experienced it. For every new technology that was supposed to reduce paper, each seemed to generate only more and more paper. However, maybe it’s not such a myth. A new study has shown that many companies actually have decreased how much paper they use over the last five years. It’s mostly the larger companies, who tend to have more detailed processes and automated systems. Smaller companies, on the other hand, tended to use more paper. Of course, the details aren’t entirely clear for those larger companies. It sounds like the results might just be based on what executives say — and they probably have the incentive to say that there’s less paper, even if they don’t actually know. At the same time, many of those larger companies probably lost a lot of employees over the past five years, which could contribute to the decrease in paper usage much more than any computer automation.

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Comments on “The Myth Of The Paperless Office Is A Myth?”

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Pete says:

Continued importance of paper

So the conclusion to your Paperless Office topic is a roundabout nothing.

Paper will continue to be in use because it is backup, evidence, physical and tangible. Until emails and such electronic documents are seen as factual, paper will be used simply for the fact of proof that something happened, an agreement has been made, or event has taken place (ect ect.).

Small or large, companies will need paper a long time. Emails, spreadsheets, databases and such are still seen largely as editable- meaning anyone can make changes to them therefore they cannot be held as factual. When that mindset is changed, then we may see more paperless offices.

In addition, increasing virus attacks, computer gliches and crashes, and a growing fear in a lack of safety and security keeps people from going completely paperless. By putting a piece of paper in a locked filing cabinet, that information is pretty safe barring extreme cases of vandalism and thievery.

Conclusion: Paperless offices are and will continue to be myths for years to come.

Speedwell says:

Re: Continued importance of paper

That’s easy to assume, and probably largely true in practice, but it is shortsighted and self-defeating.

As the top data jockey who doubles as an administrator of the product database for many thousand employees of our international energy-related company, I can assure you that the “paperless” office gives rise to equally paperless backup strategies.

Most of what’s wrong with the paperless office is that people like you can’t stand to let go of their precious woodpulp security blankets. Do you realize that to keep information current, you must actually discourage paper backup? Quickie scenario: I am an engineer. You are in the shop. You have a paper copy of the design drawing that you printed for yourself in order to avoid the chore of constantly going to the database. I change the design drawing. You continute to use the old information to produce the part. Part gets sent to the customer. Part fails. Customer discovers part was not made to specs. You get fired. Customer sues. Company suffers. I get laid off.

If you don’t keep paper backups, then information can be kept current in realtime. We back up to our dedicated backup servers in realtime. If we make a mistake, we deal with it immediately. If we lose some data, we have enough redundancy do recreate it in the form we want. It’s not impossible. In fact, it’s optimal.

me (profile) says:

Oh, but they tempt me Lord...


I’m sensing a lot of paperist bias here 🙂

From the atricle;
-“the promise of the paperless office, well, it hasn?t happened.”
-“There will never be a completely paperless office, because paper is so convenient.”

THEN they quote people whining that computers just don’t work…
“when the computer decides to fry itself…”
“far too many computer glitches to rely on that as the only back-up.”

And the kicker;
“The restrictions on the amount of storage for computer files is causing me to print and file a lot more than I have in the past”
Riiight…hard drive space is soooooo limited you have to print stuff…Less than $1/GB is OBVIOUSLY too expensive..

essentially just another paperist luddite FUD article…
-computers don’t really work, not really…(??)
-can’t store all the data (?!?!?!)
-easier to read on papaer??!?! (NOT, no search, font size change, ANYTHING!)

However, heh-heh…the ending shows the reason why;

“This is why newspapers, books and magazines are still being purchased and read.”
“…is a syndicated columnist and best-selling business book author, his latest being the soon-to-be published…”

Yeah, wouldn’t want to see all your books being copied freely over the internet constantly would you…

Let me spell it out for everyone…
Step 1) Small laptop with nice screen
Step 2) Rotate screen display 90^
Step 3) Hold laptop like book, press button to flip page

AND, to stop the whining before it starts;

“but I like the smell of paper and book binding”
-you have a glue addiction…seek help

“I like the FEEL of a book”
-go fondle the photocopier, you freak

“I can put a book in my handbag and just go”
-I can put a library, video store, music store, TV station, arcade, magazine rack, and my home business in my backpack and it’s under 5 lbs

“you don’t need to plug a book in”
-you spend >2 HOURS reading NOWHERE NEAR ANY POWER SOURCE?!?!? What do you do when it gets dark? Light a candle?
Most cabins have a generator these days y’know…

Sorry for the rant, but C’MON PEOPLE!!!

It’s almost 2005 for @$**##sakes

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh, but they tempt me Lord...

“you don’t need to plug a book in”
-you spend >2 HOURS reading NOWHERE NEAR ANY POWER SOURCE?!?!? What do you do when it gets dark? Light a candle?
Most cabins have a generator these days y’know…

I like to read while soaking in the bathtub. If I drop the book, I’m only out $8-10, assuming it can’t be dried back to reasonable shape. Dropping a laptop or other electronic reader would have more serious consequences.

C.H. says:

Paperless and the Adobe Irony

I recently had to sign some contracts. I received the documents as a digital fax, in PDF form. Rather than print the contract, sign it, scan it back in, and mail it back I took photographs of my signatures, created a png of it with a transparent background, and used Adobe Acrobat reader to insert the signatures into the page.

The irony of this situation was that I had to jump through several hoops to get the sig pasted into the document, with the biggest hurdle being the incompatability of Acobat with Photoshop.

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