Is a Printer-Less Office a Possiblity?
I just read a short article in a trade magazine I get, The Recycler, asking the question is a printer-less office a possibility? Back in 1985 when I owned my first business and we bought our first computer and a printer to go with it I heard this same statement. The company that sold us the computer said that within 5 to 10 years at the most, we would be paperless! As he stated, why would you want to buy the paper, print it and then have to file and save it. Now that we have computers, you can just save it to the hard drive and that’s it.
As we all know that did not happen. Why? Industry figure Nathan Dube speculated on the concept of the paperless office in early 2012, noting that it was “a myth for the simple fact that human beings truly have an intense and emotional attachment to the printed page”. Funny, that’s how I felt back in 1985 when I was told we would be going paperless, I had a thing about holding that piece of paper in my hand. Not only that but if you are going over your financials isn’t nice to have paper in hand and a pencil to jot down ideas, notes and anything else you want as you are reading the numbers? Of course you do, try doing that on a computer. Or try telling a CPA that they are not allowed to print a hard copy of financials but will have to save everything to a hard drive or even better “in the cloud” and notice the reaction. I’ve had a number of bookkeepers and CPA’s work for me over the years and not one of them bought into this concept, period. As far as their concerned you have to have a hard copy and save it for 7 years. Yes, they do save to the hard drive and many of them now save off site in the cloud, but not one of them that I have ever met will trust in that alone, print a hard copy is their motto.
Personally, I can think of many instances when I want to print what I have on my computer, like when I’m going through my e-mails in the morning and I see something from a customer that is going to take my attention by having to call him and discuss the issue. I print it out and make whatever notes I feel I will need before calling him. When on the phone I now have that piece of paper to jot down important points that are brought up during the conversation. This seems like a small thing in and of itself but you really can’t do this on the computer, Sure you could copy & paste the email into a word doc and have that window open as you are talking and make notes on the document that way, but it’s just not the same and besides, you can’t doddle with a computer. Sounds silly but again, human nature.
How about when you have a meeting? Sure you could bring you’re laptop to the meeting and you’re document saved in Word and reference that during the meeting. But what about the other people in the meeting? Oh yea, they could have their laptop and reference the same document that you have shared on DropBox. Still leaves the problem of people wanting to take notes as the meeting progresses which is pretty hard to do on a shared document, hell everyone is going to be taking notes and doodling on the same document, this is going to get pretty messy really fast. No, in this situation the best course of action is to print out the meeting notes and pass it out to everyone so they each have a copy and they can make notes as they wish. Save a copy in the cloud, of course. When the meeting is done you can go in, revise the document, everyone can see it and most likely will print it out so that they can follow up on whatever it is that needs to be done.
This is just a few examples that I can think of where I would want that printed piece of paper. I’m sure you can think of situations that you also want a printed piece of paper in front of you. Should we be careful of how much we print? Of course, going green means a lot of things now a day’s, it’s just not CO2 pollution. Saving on paper helps to save our forest and reduces the amount of fossil fuel that is used to produce that piece of paper. Like anything else in life, moderation is key. The day’s of printing any thing and everything just because you can are gone, be careful and only print what you really need. Will we bring this to the point of being a paperless society, I think not.
To be fair there are some companies out there that have saved thousands by attempting to go as paperless as possible. In the court case of Boris Berezovske v Roman Abramovich in Britain by virtue of utilizing cloud computing technology they managed to save five million pages. Not that’s saving a few bucks in the cost of the paper itself, not to mention what it would cost to store this much hard copy material for many years.Granted this is a large case with thousands of dollars that were saved but scale it down and the same system can be used on a much smaller scale. The point is paperless is great for some applications and not good for others.
In the heyday of the printer it was not unusual to find a printer on ever other desk in large offices, this is ridiculous and unnecessary. Many larger companies have done away with this and installed one or two large copiers per floor where everyone prints to those machines. But the point is that they print, why? Because they have to. Even if the company is using The Cloud and discouraging wasteful printing, office workers are still printing but only what they need. Need is the key word here, remember human nature, we like to hold that piece of paper in our hand. I don’t think that will ever change.
So one way to help our environment is to only print what you need to and use the cloud for storing and saving everything you can. Another way you can help save our environment is to use re-manufactured ink and toner. Our specialty at Ink & Toner Solutions is the aftermarket Eco-friendly re-manufactured printer cartridge. If you do use these brands of printer cartridges, you are recycling what would otherwise end up in the landfill. The cost and resources used to make a new printer cartridge is twice that of re-manufacturing what has already been made. If you are interested in trying these high quality cartridges you can order on line at www.inksolutionsma.com.