When Will Going Paperless Sweep the Nation?

Wadih Pazos January 6, 2014

When Will Going Paperless Sweep the Nation?
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If you were to ask numerous business leaders how they store their important documents within the office, you’d definitely get a few answers that include filing cabinets, remote storage facilities, and other explanations that point to a tangible system. However, as time goes on, more and more administrators admit they’ve made the change to electronic workflow.

Company owners do this because of the numerous benefits associated with the technology, which outweigh any potential detracting element. For instance, virtually all digital businesses are sure to save money because they won’t have to buy storage units (whether that includes cabinets or off-site pods), reams of paper, ink, printers, envelopes, and other accessories. Leaders can also facilitate collaboration on various documents – people can take a look at the same forms simultaneously, rather than waiting until a co-worker is done with it.

The list goes on. This has led several experts to envision a paperless society in the United States. And why not? This technology isn’t just beneficial for companies; individuals could become much more organized in their daily lives if their crucial information was on computers. This could also help assure them that they wouldn’t misplace important files. Also, it could protect sensitive data in the event of a natural disaster, one that would otherwise leave paper vulnerable.

However, some critics think that the possibility of the majority of Americans going digital in their personal and professional lives is unlikely. What are the potentialities, and when, if at all, could this technology become extremely widespread?

It might take a while

As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, people have been suggesting the idea of a paperless society for almost 50 years at this point, so there’s a good chance that complete adoption of such technology will continue to take a while. The source did explain that significant strides have been made, particularly recently within the corporate realm, which can be verified by decreasing paper sales. Even so, total compliance might still be a ways away.

The newspaper reported that paper has proven its staying power over thousands of years and has so many different uses that an entirely digital community seems improbable. It’s exceedingly hard to predict a digital deadline, largely because this technology has been available for some time yet has not been adopted in a widespread manner in various aspects of life.

That being said, embracing these tools can only be beneficial for individuals.

What can you do?

It might be some time before we live in a paperless society, but that doesn’t mean businesses should be dissuaded from embracing things such as electronic document imaging to make digitizing a reality in the office. In fact, this might be more important than trying to mobilize individuals to eschew paper in all aspects of their lives.

Nevertheless, business leaders and workers alike could switch in the workplace, then implement the same changes at home. Think how easy it would be to work remotely if your home office was also paperless. Otherwise, if you’d forgotten a few important documents on your work desk, you might be lost and unable to finish important tasks. All of this information would be available online were the office to be digital, and you could rest assured you would be able to view them at home, knowing all of the programs and technologies required.

This type of action can spark a trend, which can then be picked up by various others and eventually influence the embrace of a paperless society.

Wadih Pazos

Wadih founded PairSoft and PaperSave, and he currently advises non-profits on business process improvement and technology.

View all posts by Wadih Pazos
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