The paperless office. Along side terms such as digital transformation and agile these three words are everywhere when it comes to what businesses are told they should strive towards.

And for good reason. Not only does going paperless have positive impacts on the environment, it can save your business a lot of money and improve security by keeping important documents in password-locked cloud storage.

However, if you think that the paperless office of the future means you can do away with your trusty company printer, prepare to think again. In this article, we’ll take a look at how and why printers will continue to play an important role in paperless offices to help you avoid jumping the gun and getting rid of this vital piece of kit.

Paperless offices don't necessarily mean the end of printers.Despite what you might think, printers still have an important role in the paperless offices of the future.

Why printers are still important in the paperless office

1. Because ‘going paperless’ doesn’t happen over night

While it may seem impossible to imagine your business without technology, for years physical documentation was the only option we had, and the processes and systems that built up around this fact have become deeply entrenched. As a result, going paperless is a journey, not a destination.

For many businesses, going paperless doesn’t mean the total elimination of paper.

If you were to rid your office of printers as part of a drive to encourage paperlessness, you’d soon find staff running into roadblocks because they rely on printers more than even they realise. Encouraging staff to be more economical with their printing, and ensuring that your printer setup isn’t in excess of what you require are both solid moves, but entirely removing printers from your office, as paperless as you may want it to be, is likely going to be counter productive in the short term.

In fact, for the moment, many businesses admit that going paperless doesn’t mean eliminating paper entirely – and for as long as paper persists, your printers will need to too.

Don't leave your staff out if they prefer to work with paper over digitally based documents.Some workers still prefer to work with printed documents as opposed to cloud-based files.

2. Some staff prefer physical documents

In the same way that some readers will never prefer kindles over the real deal, some staff simply work better when handling physical documents as opposed to doing everything digitally. While you can promote economical printing among your staff, those who prefer to have paper in hand for certain tasks may be taken aback if that option is removed entirely.

Top tip: Encourage discussions among the different teams within your businesses as to what types of documentation you all believe need to remain printable. While this can allow wiggle room for those staff who do prefer physical documents, setting expectations in this way can help you accommodate different work practices while still moving to an overall more paperless environment.

Just because your business is embracing new ways of working doesn't mean  you have to leave printers behind.Printers can fit easily into modern practices such as agile working.

3. Printers can fit with modern work practices

While the rise of trends such as remote working may seem to add fuel to the fire that printers are a thing of the past, recent trends show that they are in fact easily adaptable to modern working practices.

Take agile, for example. As businesses start to focus more on the pod-based teams that feature prominently in agile methodologies, we’ve seen a shift in printers too. Instead of huge devices situated centrally for office-wide use, printers have migrated to the teams where they’re most needed. Generally speaking, this means fewer, smaller devices that sit within pods, and are used for their specific tasks. 

Printers are easily adaptable to modern business such as remote working or agile structures.

Similarly, in the era of bring your own device (BYOD), mobile printing offers a solution that means staff don’t need to worry about where they are are or what device they are printing from. Employees simply need to connect to their nearest printer, press the button and their documents will be ready for use, either by themselves or their team in the office.

Brother has years of experience in helping businesses to achieve their productivity and sustainability goals through devices that meet their objectives. Whether you’re looking at decreasing paper consumption in your organisation, or are seeking technology to suit your new agile environment, Brother’s team of experts is on hand to help you make the right decisions.

For more information on what we’ve discussed today, or to for specific advice on products, get in touch with our team.

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