Although the paperless office has been predicted for decades, it is still far from becoming a reality. Companies are nevertheless gradually reducing their paper consumption, as a representative survey shows.
Paper still plays an important role in everyday office life at German companies, whether as an invoice, a time sheet or a material slip. This was the conclusion reached in a representative survey of 504 companies with 20 or more employees, conducted by market researchers from Bitkom Researchon behalf of the digital association Bitkom . According to the findings, three quarters of the companies continue to transact at least half of their business processes on the basis of paper documents, with almost one in every five companies still doing everything on paper. All the same, 38% of the companies now print less than a year ago; 18%, however, said that they are currently printing even more than before.
There is nevertheless a will to digitize: 56% of respondents say they want to replace their letter mail with digital communication, and 46% of companies have already digitized at least some of their newer paper files; yet only around 8% of the companies managed to do so for all their files.
Digitization in the office may get a boost from legislation; the German federal cabinet has now passed a law implementing the electronic signature regulation eIDAS. The regulation ensures that electronic documents are recognized as legally valid throughout the EU.