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Why Do We Still Print? Going Paperless is Not An Overnight Process!

I have always had this burning question in the back of mind, “Why do we Print?”  Aren’t we supposed be working in Paperless offices by now?

We all imagine offices of the future to be a place of efficiency, sustainability, a collaborative setting where computers support our daily print routines and processes.  But in reality, being human, your environment or what you are exposed to, quickly determines your print behaviour.

Business Process Management - why do we print?

Technology and all its advances in the workplace are evolving so quickly, businesses of today are putting huge pressure on their people to perform their day-to-day work routines digitally with a keyboard, desktop or laptop and multiple screens.  With the amount of information people are exposed to over the internet, business applications, data and using various communication mediums, it’s no wonder printing stats in business are showing large print volume percentages by as much as 50% on emails and document content. 

Just chatting to people in business, I put this simple question to them “Why do you print?” – with some interesting feedback.  A large percentage say it’s a requirement of the job or it’s what we have always done.  My view is, people and businesses continue to print because there is an intrinsic confidence around the piece of paper and its information.  People find it easier to read, understand and absorb its content and more deeply rooted, businesses find a sense of security in a printed page.

How can this be changed?

I do believe technology can greatly assist in sustainable printing methods, but another focus should be on people’s behaviour and adopting digital workflows.  The plan and investment into change management will be a great mechanism to aid the drive within people to challenge their everyday print process and ask the question, in collaboration with their colleagues, “Why am I printing this?” 

Having this awareness should spark the subtle changes in any repetitive printing norms to assist in working towards a paperless and sustainable office of tomorrow.

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