Going Paperless: Truths & Myths

Going Paperless: galleys and specsIn the midst of computers, scanners, email, and mobile communications, there’s a constant buzz about going paperless. What you might not realize is that the buzz has been around for decades. As early as 1975, Business Week was predicting the paperless office due to the continuing development of personal computers. Over thirty years later, many more records are electronic, but paper seems to be holding its own.

Going Paperless Truths

Your home or office may not be 100 percent paper free in this lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin the journey. Consider the traditional phonebook. It’s both more convenient and more eco-friendly to forgo the Yellow Pages in favor of an online search via YP.com. Other areas that can be converted from paper to electronic with beneficial results include:

  • Bank statements

  • Many bills

  • Subscriptions to newspapers and magazines

  • Coupons

Whether you opt to receive items in electronic form or scan documents into virtual filing systems and shred the originals, going paperless reduces clutter, protects private information, and provides more convenient access to information.

Going Paperless Myths

One of the biggest myths about going paperless is that electronic copies will replace all hard copies in the next few years. Too many systems — from healthcare to politic s– are built around paper copies. Certified copies, original signed contracts, and original receipts are just some of the documents that play a role in legal or other systems. It’s not impossible that those documents will go paperless in the future, but the systems that demand hard copies are slow and resistant to change.

Another common myth about paper is that all reading will be done electronically in the next few years. Though eBooks and magazine subscriptions are making huge headway in the publishing market, there are still plenty of people partial to holding a paper version (paperback books, local newspapers, specialty catalogs).

Have you begun the going paperless journey?