Paperless Office

Some years ago, the idea of the 'paperless office' was popularised as an ideal.  We are all familiar with 'paperwork' — such as filling out seemingly useless or unnecessarily complicated forms. 

Electronic alternatives seemed to offer the promise of getting a machine to do this busywork. By banishing the paper, we could avoid the hassle.

There is no question that electronic data management can be used to reduce administrative burdens.  However, paper doesn't cause paperwork, organisations do. Because organisations can process electronic forms more easily than paper ones, it may be that so-called ‘paperwork’ will even increase in the future, with most of it done on-line.  It was never fair to blame the paper, so while we reduce paper use, we should not go overboard and try to avoid paper in those cases where it is the best tool for the job.

Paper is far too useful and satisfying to want to get rid of it completely.

The ‘paper efficiency’ approach acknowledges the usefulness of paper, but recognises that we can still use considerably less than we do now. "Paper Efficiency" is like a balanced diet with good physical exercise.

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