What is the Paperless Office?

From Wikipedia:

A paperless office is a work environment at which the use of paper is eliminated or wisely used. “Going Paperless” can save money, boost productivity, save space, make electronic documentation and information sharing easier and minimize environmental damage. The paperless office as a concept is of course not only limited to the office.

The paperless office was a publicist‘s slogan, meant to describe the office of the future. The basic idea was that office automation would make paper redundant for routine tasks such as record-keeping and bookkeeping. The idea came to prominence with the introduction of the personal computer. While the prediction of a PC on every desk was remarkably prescient, the ‘paperless office’ was less prophetic. Improvements in printers and photocopiers have made it much easier to reproduce documents in bulk, word-processing has deskilled secretarial work involved in writing those documents, the ease of communicating over email has greatly increased the number of documents printed and the result is the proliferation of paper.

An early prediction of the paperless office was made in a Business Week article in 1975.

Contrary to the predictions of the paperless office, the introduction of computers increased paper use, with worldwide use of office paper more than doubling from 1980 to 2000.[2] This has been attributed to the increased ease of document production[2] – rather than needing to type a document up, one may easily print out multiple copies, email it to someone who then prints out a copy, print out a web page, and so forth. However, since about 2000, global use of office paper has leveled off and is now decreasing, which has been attributed to a generation shift,[2] younger people being less inclined to print out documents, and more inclined to read them on a screen.

The trend to go paperless however is picking up steam.

With the green movement blowing full steam ahead and with businesses looking for more ways to cut costs in turbulent economic times, the idea of a paperless office has become increasingly seen as the way of the future.

This blog will chronicle the evolution of the green paperless office, and give tips on how to keep your environment virtually paper free.


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