Is the paperless office a myth?

Is the paperless office a myth? According to a recently release study it may be exactly that.

A study conducted by Ivey Business Consulting Group (IBCG) for printer manufacturer Lexmark Canada Inc., says the average employee working at a large company in Canada prints almost 50 pages daily.

Ivey is a consulting group based at the Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario.

If that same employee worked in a small-to-medium sized environment (SME), the employee would print 35 pages per day. As well, 60 per cent of all the information created by an SME employee is printed.

In the corporate world, the Ivey study found that 67 per cent of all information created was eventually printed.

About 40 per cent of those corporate employees print correspondence sent electronically.

Ivey found that almost a quarter of all SME workers in Canada print everything they receive electronically.

The Ivey study titled Workplace Printing Behaviour: Habits & Trends in Printing at the Office came up with three key points:

• Technology is actually driving office printing and paper use, not eliminating it.

• Individuals now have more control of what gets printed and when, so printing is more effective.

• Printing is regarded as a tool to help workers better digest, manage and track information they need to do their jobs.

Michael Barr, senior consultant at IBCG, said the research indicates that technology is driving office printing and paper use. “Individuals now have more control of what gets printed and when, so printing is more effective.”

The study interviewed professionals from small to large businesses across southern Ontario. It found that the average employee based in an SME (under 500 employees) prints daily volumes of 36 pages.

Other key data includes:

• Business documents represent the bulk of pages being printed (62 per cent), while e-mail and Internet printing represent averages of 16 and nine per cent of total print volumes, respectively.

• Businesses receive approximately 60 per cent of their data electronically while about 40 per cent are provided in hardcopy format.

• Over 60 per cent of all documents created are printed.

The purpose of the study was to gain insight into printing habits and trends in workplaces in Canada. Questions focused on printing equipment and printing habits.

The Ivey Business Consulting Group (IBCG) conducted 66 interviews with end users and office equipment decision- makers in corporations and SMEs in Toronto (60 per cent) and London (40 per cent).

Participants were chosen from five key verticals — manufacturing, retail, financial services, business services and government.

Roughly 13 participants from each vertical were interviewed

Two- thirds of the total number of participants worked in SME, with up to 500 employees; o

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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