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With the emergence of agile working, readily available information through mobile devices with constant access to the internet and cloud technology, is there still a place for paper in modern business communication?

Paper can be considered as one of the greatest inventions of all time, dating back to 140BC. After all, where would we be without paper currency, books, maps, newspapers…the list goes on. Not forgetting the critical part paper has had to play in the way business has been run for generations.

We have been pioneering to create the ‘less paper’ office amongst clients, and the technology has been available to do so for many years, whilst others have deeper claims that businesses can in fact go ‘paperless’. However despite the much heralded paperless office in this ever progressing digital age, the adoption of mobile technology and document sharing platforms, paper remains very much here to stay! For now, at least.

Manywould agree that hard copy documents are easier to read, annotate and review. A recent survey conducted by TwoSides indicated that 77% of respondents preferred reading from paper copy against digital. The same study also revealed that 88% of individuals understand and retain information better when they read from paper, not from a screen. For some, the digital screen is second nature, something that will inevitably become more common, for now however the presentation, clarity and functionality of paper documents trumps all.

It can be said that this preference of paper over digital document comes down to culture as opposed to technological capability. We have seen the arrival of tablets and ebooks, but this has not negated the need for bookshops, similarly easily downloadable newspapers on smart devices have not greatly impacted consumer demand for hard copy.

Paper also remains more universally accepted and adopted as legal documentation. Most of us still feel more comfortable signing a contract for a new business deal, a new house, or even our Last Will and Testament on paper rather than on screen with a digital signature.

Somehow, paper feels safer.

It seems that regardless of the advances in information access in the digital world, the printed page still remains king of communication! That is not to deny the use of digital documents and workflows, which can greatly benefit a business by speeding up workflows- the use of paper can significantly slow a process down and therefore finding a happy medium, a hybrid model, that is practical and embracing of both paper and digital workflow is the nirvana for many.

Ironically many companies tell us that the rise in digital archiving is actually driving print up. The mobile worker and collaborative tools have not negated the need for print but merely changed the ways in which we do print; where and when we chose to do so, increasing our need for an “agile“ print strategy.

Many businesses are taking a pragmatic approach to the document life-cycle, embracing a “paperlite“ initiative to enable greater productivity, efficiency, resilience and security whilst driving unnecessary cost and waste out of their organisation.

The bottom line result: A 30-40% reduction in paper consumption and associated costs is not uncommon with a joined up approach, in turn saving valuable space, time and money.

To help find your happy medium between digital and paper workflows, speak to one of our team today.