The term “paperless office” goes as far back as the 1970s. The Xerox Corporation did more to promote the term than anyone else. As far back as 1974-1975 there was a mention in the organization about the “office of the future” that would include computers, electronic mail and online information. All the tools are in place these days to make the paperless office a reality all over the world. The fact that technologies are now beginning to look and feel more paper like is a step in the right direction. No longer are we limited by battery power, or large heavy screens. Battery and display technologies are now thinner and lighter than ever and wireless protocols make it necessary for devices to be secured to each other in order to communicate. There are many portable devices that allow persons to access, send, read and even mark documents as if it were in paper format.
Technology has provided a means of escape from all - or at least most - of the paper clutter associated with a paper driven environment. Is there really such a thing as a paperless environment? One might ask. Or is a less paper environment a more realistic dream? If experts believe that by the year 2005 there will be 40 percent more paper in offices than there was in 1995 then should we even begin to think about a paperless environment anytime soon? On the one hand technology will eliminate many hard copy records, but on the other hand it also creates more information, a vast amount of which persons will want to have in hard copy.
According to the national filing survey (done by Kardex Systems, UK) over 1 million pounds are wasted on a daily basis to find lost files. Office filing staff in the UK earn roughly £8-£9 per hour and the average cost for locating each file is approximately £10. The managing director of Kardex claims that “6 percent of the UK's 2.1 million businesses admit to losing at least one file per day - that adds up to 120,000 lost files. By this estimate, poor filing practices are costing UK businesses £1.2 million every working day or more than £240 million a year”.
The survey goes on to state that 55 percent of the missing files are misfiled, 48 percent are on the desks of other members of staff, approximately 13 percent can be found on the boss' desk. The staggering reality though, according to the surveyors, is that 2 percent of the files lost are never found. For businesses with very sensitive material this can be very tragic situation indeed.
Too much paper in any organization leads to confusion and waste. Companies cannot afford to be complacent and rely on the outdated method of using filing cabinets for storing important information. Thousands of dollars are wasted in companies all over the world to store information the old fashioned way and at the same time efficiency and profitability are greatly ...