The rise of paper usage
The idea of striving for a paperless office is one that is clearly important to us at the ScanSnap Community. We recently came across a really interesting article from Australia’s TheAge.com which looked at how paper usage continues to rise despite the growing arsenal of office technologies that support a paperless environment.
The article addresses how, although the amount of digital information is constantly increasing, we will never see paper disappear completely in offices. Research seems to support this trend: The Economist revealed that paper usage increased by 50% over the past 30 years.
So why is this the case? Why do people still feel the need to print out documents, vs. reading from screen? The Age’s article suggests via research by the Computer User academic journal that people are 30% more likely to remember information when it is printed or written down. The question is then, is a company’s ability to go paperless actually dependent on the human behaviour rather than technology?
That’s certainly the case in The Myth of the Paperless Office by Sellen and Harper. The book looks at the reasons why people still prefer to print documents and at the characteristics of behaviour versus the reasons for hitting ‘print’. You likely recognise these reasons in your own office: ease of editing, and the higher perceived importance of documents if printed.