Only 2% of businesses are fully digital. Here’s how to become one of them


A 2018 survey revealed a surprising insight about the average workforce. 44% of businesses still use paper in their day-to-day operations. Even more surprising, only 2% of businesses indicated that they’ve gone fully digital and use zero paper. So, what happened to the paperless office movement?

Looking back at visions of the paperless office

The transition to a purely digital workforce is not a novel concept. It’s been around for as long as the internet has been in existence. The question is whether businesses have actually decreased paper consumption in the workplace.

Many survey respondents indicated they’ve made active efforts to curtail paper use, however, when asked if they ever see their coworkers using the printer, 60% answered “all the time” or “a few times a week.” Overall paper use has gone down, but not as much as was anticipated by now.

As far as storage options go, nearly 70% said their offices use both physical filing cabinets and online cloud storage.

In terms of file format, the majority used PDF, with .doc and .xls coming in second and third respectively. “PDF” is the most frequently used term when respondents describe a paperless work environment. Other frequent terms include “cloud storage,” “sharing documents,” “less paper,” and “scan to PDF.”

This shows that PDF and associated terms like “file sharing” and “storage” should make for serious brainstorming for business leaders.

What’s next?

The quest to do away with paper is slowly progressing, but it’s ongoing. To advance it further and faster in your business, there are some steps you can take.

Encourage staff and departments to adopt a paperless policy. The best pathway is to adopt PDF since it’s a universal across-the-board solution. The prevalence of secure cloud storage and affordable collaboration products make a paperless office more feasible than ever.

The statistical figures show that businesses are decreasing paper usage. Certainly, today’s solutions make it easy to reduce, or even eliminate, use of paper for menial tasks. Most work and correspondence can be handled through online sharing of PDFs and other digital files. While this is becoming the norm, much work still needs to be done.  Foxit provides solutions such as Rendition Server to convert paper to digital on a large scale and PhantomPDF for knowledge workers to convert, create, and modify PDF documents.

Many institutions still aren’t fully aware of the easy and affordable access to collaborative solutions. This leads to a knowledge gap that slows the elimination of paper.

Companies should track paper usage in every department and find innovative ways to gradually reduce the volume. A simple initial solution is to implement a PDF tool to allow faculty to access, share, edit, and annotate PDF files. This eliminates the need for hardcopies, physical distribution, and editing by pen.

Businesses don’t have to entirely eliminate paper overnight. It can be a gradual process, beginning by decreasing the number of times staff members hit the print button. Company standard operating procedures should revolve around a digital-first philosophy for sharing, collaborating, and archiving files.

Ultimately, the key to an eventual paperless office is the full scale adoption of collaboration software and apps. By “full scale,” this means making use of the full suite of features instead of using just one or two features. Begin your transition to all-digital today.

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