For years, the businesses have been trying to cut down on paper and move to total digitisation – the paperless office has been an aim across a range of industries.
However, a survey by Canon Europe showed that 57% of office workers print more documents today than they did 3 years ago, and 78% of decision-makers say that document printing is either essential or very important to their business.
The vast majority of office workers say that printers are vital to their work – the humble office printer shows no signs of disappearing.
Increased bureaucracy and the need for contracts throughout the lifetime of agreements may be to blame for the increase in printing, but paperwork is more important than ever before to build and maintain relationships with both clients and suppliers.
Epson Europe’s research showed that 88% of office workers printed an average of 21 items per day – reports are the most popular items to print, followed by email attachments and emails themselves.
Global Futurist, Jack Uldrich, has a theory on why the paperless office was never realised, “every technology is unique and has tangible benefits, and paper is no different. Arguably, paper is the greatest instrument ever invented for conveying, sharing, and disseminating information.”
“In fact, scientific studies have demonstrated that people understand and retain information presented on paper at a far higher level than information presented electrically.”
Cost and improvements in efficiency may also be behind the growth of print. Rob Clark, Senior Vice President of Epson Europe, states that “organisations can achieve up to twice as many prints while producing 95% less waste and with much lower energy consumption” when comparing modern inkjet printers to laser printing.
Whatever the reason behind the growth of print, the 1978 dream of a paperless office is disappearing and being replaced by an intelligent office that uses both paper and digital processes to improve productivity and efficiency.