As a modern-day, business-minded individual, you recognize that digital platforms are continuously replacing outdated sources. Perhaps you hold a cell phone in your hand that resembles a laptop more than it does the old flip phones you remember fondly. Maybe you are walking around your office right now holding a tablet and having a business conference video chat when the days of setting an old conference phone in the center of a table are still fresh in your memory.
The truth is that, in time, even the tablet and the smartphone you currently use on a daily basis will become outdated. It may be a decade from now or even a week from now, but savvy business people know that technology is constantly changing and progressing.
However, one thing you may also have on your desk at this very moment is a stack of papers with written notes, calendar dates, or even simple doodles and reminders on them. So, why is it that technology has transformed nearly every aspect of business except for the simple use of a pen and paper? The answer is simple: Going entirely paperless is an unrealistic solution. Doing so would create a void with nothing that can quite replace it. To truly recognize what this means, it is best to analyze why paperless business is unrealistic and what alternative there is that still reduces the environmental impact of paper usage.
Related: How to Run a Sustainable Office Without Going Paperless
Why Going Entirely Paperless is Unrealistic
With paper being a large source of the environmental impact us humans have on this world, it’s no wonder why many companies want to reduce their paper usage significantly. However, a paperless company is one that is struggling to achieve the simple abilities paper provides them with.
In fact, despite the impact that technology has had on the use of paper in a business, according to Wakefield Research, 73 percent of business owners and decision-makers still print at least four times a day, and companies spend as much as $27,000 per year on organizing the 60,000 copies they print each year.
So, why is it that these companies continue to print this much and use this much paper in their businesses despite tablets, kindles, and other handheld devices meant to outdate paper usage? Well, the answer has everything to do with tactile sensation, retention, and reducing learning curves for employees.
Tactile Sensation and its Impact on Business
According to Adelphi University in relation to a study they conducted on the connection between tactile sensation and consumers, “Touching products in a brick-and-mortar environment provides tactile information to shoppers and enhances enjoyment.”
Because of the clear connection between physical touch and satisfaction, there will always remain a need for physical copies of contracts and other business-related texts. The ability to hold a contract in your hands actually builds trust between a client and the business they intend on working with. Similarly, being able to pass out physical copies of project descriptions, meeting agendas or memos actually increases company understanding and productivity in employees.
Related: 6 Attributes of a “Paper Person”
How Paper Improves Retention of Information
If you did debate in high school, then you probably remember your debate leader saying at least once that “to remember something, you must first write it down and, once you think you’ve memorized it, write it down three more times.”
The truth is that writing a concept down when learning it is the best way to solidify it in your mind. According to Medical Daily:
“Taking notes with a pen and paper, rather than a laptop, leads to higher quality learning, as writing is a better strategy to store and internalize ideas in the long haul. Writing by hand strengthens the learning process, while typing can impair it… writing by hand allows the brain to receive feedback from a person’s motor actions, and this specific feedback is different than those received when touching and typing on a keyboard. The movements involved when handwriting leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain which helps the person recognize letters and establish a connection between reading and writing.”
In this way, paper continues to be a massive source of opportunity for information retention in business and continues to prove its worth in comparison to the technology hoping to replace it.
Reducing the Learning Curve and Expanding Your Hiring Market
Another reason that paper usage will never truly be completely diminished is through the learning curve reduction paper provides. Imagine, for a moment, that on top of all of the other qualifications a potential candidate for your company must have, they must also be able to use various paper-replacing technologies in a way that is not hindering your company’s forward movement.
Now, imagine that the perfect candidate comes along but, like many other candidates, they don’t have experience in these modern forms of paper-replacing technology.
You would effectively be forced to either take valuable time out of your day to teach this individual your systems and platforms or move on to other candidates that are less ideal, but are well-versed in this tech. Neither of these options are ones you as a business professional want to choose between and this is where paper comes into play.
With an office that has not adopted paperless solutions, you can pick the most qualified candidate and know for a fact that they will be able to use the technology your company provides and not hinder your business in any way. Furthermore, without a learning curve, this individual can begin work as soon as they enter the offices for the first day.
Now that the many ways a paperless office is unrealistic have been analyzed, the question is… what is the alternative? What solution is there that still retains environmentally friendly ideals but keeps paper usage prevalent in the workplace?
Related: Sustainable vs. Recycled: Which Paper is Best?
The Alternative to a Paperless Office & Why it’s Viable
It’s been established that a paperless business system is unrealistic in nature. Still, wanting an eco-friendly alternative to current paper usage is completely understandable. So, what is the solution? Well, it’s simple. You absolutely can run a sustainable office without going paperless by choosing to use a paper company with sustainable and eco-friendly ideals.
With a paper company that is invested in environmental sustainability in every step of their paper-making and delivering process, you can rest assured knowing that you are using paper which is not hindering the earth, but rather helping it.
Furthermore, because sustainable paper companies recognize the power of creating a high-quality product from start to finish, you can also provide your clients and company with a paper product that is reliable, visually appealing, and the perfect solution to the unfortunately unrealistic proposal of a paperless world.