Does the paperless office really exist?
Looking at today’s trends, and despite what you may hear, demands for print in businesses are high.
The “Paperless Office” was a term once used in 1975 to describe the office of the future; where automating processes would become more prevalent with the introduction of personal computers. Fast forward a few decades on – a survey done by Margolis stated that 30% of business claimed they would be paperless by the end of 2015, with 20% of businesses saying that they were in fact already paperless.
Technology has moved on from the offices of 1975. Print is now seen as a tool to give businesses and staff the opportunity to digitize workflows and automate processes. These devices and solutions assist in decreasing overall print volume and reducing a negative effect on the environment, as well as giving an organisation a safe and more secure workplace.
This is now more relevant than ever, with GDPR coming into effect this May. Though viewed as a mammoth task for a lot of companies, this incoming process will actually help to not only limit waste, but also decrease the possibility of data breaches from sensitive information left lying at the output tray.
The importance of this in today’s world, where security breaches seem to be lurking behind corners, shows why an organisation needs to make optimal use of their print estate and its security needs - not ignore it.
One of the most vulnerable areas in your office right now is your printer, unbeknownst to a lot of people. An unsecure printer is an open gate for hackers and cyber criminals to access classified and important information and data in your business.
The risk associated with this can be detrimental, which is why management must take a deeper look in to their print service and ensure that it has out of the box security features that help safeguard printing fleets from potential hacks on your network. This, coupled with digital workflows and processes, helps your business stay secure while also being able to accelerate ahead, not worrying about breaches or attacks that will harm your environment.
Workflows and document solutions can certainly make the millennial office seem more paperless, starting from a Multi-Function Device (MFD) and resulting in reducing paper usage, while providing a digital paper trail throughout the business. These workflows make historical searches easier and faster as the soft copies are saved on your network, no longer needing to print documents time and time again.
However, the catch in this paperless realm is that the transition from paper to digital form may not always be the solution. There will come a time where it is essential to physically print documents, such as contracts requiring signatures or marketing collateral. It’s important that a company adopts the attitude of questioning their printing, asking themselves “Can I digitally save or send this document?” “Does this need to be physically printed?” The outcome of this is the ability to save your business endless amounts of money spent on unnecessary printing, highlighting how print is moving forward and how technology is changing.
Paperless or not?
To return to my main question – does this paperless office actually exist? Is it possible to operate in a company where paper is not used? In my experience, no. But, as I mentioned previously, these digital advances were not available in 1975. Endless rows of filing cabinets would fill and consume office spaces quickly. Move forward to the office of today and those areas previously saved for filing cabinets are now filled with the most advanced printing technology, helping to digitize work, while also still fulfilling the need to print and use paper documents.
How can you steer your business into this new printing era?
Adopt a partnership with a print expert like Ergo, a certified HP partner in Ireland, who will consolidate, streamline and automate your print environment. We may not be able to eliminate paper completely from your office, but we can help greatly reduce and change the way your users think about print.
The complete paperless office may be some time away in the future - but for now, a lot can be done to make lasting changes. The “full-fat paper” office may not have arrived just yet, but the more realistic “skinny-paper” office is here – and it’s thriving.