Is Their Such a Thing As a Paperless Office?

Author: Richard Shaw
Posted: November 6, 2014

With modern offices working to an ideal of a paperless office, organised through a number of digital databasing systems, instead of the mountain of paper that so often leaves workspaces looking like something from their worst nightmares, we often find ourselves searching for that elusive system that organises us in the manner that we would hope to achieve. But is the paperless office just a myth, an elusive goal that we will never quite reach?

The simple fact is, we love paper, we’re always scrambling for something to scribble our latest nugget of information down on, whether it be a Post-It note or that specially bought sectioned, divided pad that we had ‘oh, such high hopes’ for. We’re still a long way away from living without paper, simply because of the breakneck speed of the business world. Of course, the question remains as to whether these jotter’s really count in the ideal of the paperless office?

Ok, so we’re allowing Post-Its and jotter pads in our paperless office, we simply can’t live without them, but there are other paper forms that are brought into question.

As individuals, we are tremendously wasteful of paper, we print off slides of presentations, before emailing the slides to the exact same recipient, we print off articles because we don’t like proof reading them on screen. However, many of our practices are considered as far less wasteful and infinitely more vital to the smooth operation of an office.

Email confirmations, orders, invoices and correspondence are all envisaged as the fundamental keystones of the smooth operation of a company. But whether we like it or not, alternatives do exist. Document management systems allow us to keep everything right where we need it, easily accessible without the space and time implications of a mammoth filing cabinet. What about signatures, we here you say? An excellent question, but electronic signatures exist to negate the need for physical signatures.

So, is their such a thing as a paperless office. Yes. No. Well, kind of. The total expulsion of paper from the typical office is still some way off, but we only really need our essentials, so there is already an existing form of the paperless office ideal, but not according to its strict definition.