As technology continues to grow and expand, the paper and printing industries have taken a huge hit to their business. Though paper and packaging still represents a $132-billion industry, it continues to experience a 5% loss in revenue from the reduction in office and writing paper. But now, the paper pushers are fighting back.
Paper manufacturers have started up a new campaign that is aimed at showing people that paper is still useful. Their new commercial, which airs both on television and on Hulu and is guaranteed to give you all the warm and fuzzy feelings, promotes paper as an outlet for our creativity and a means to connect us in personal, meaningful ways. As a company that promotes a paperless environment, we have a few thoughts on this.
Put Paper in Its Place
A brief disclaimer: We don’t hate paper. When we say paperless, we don’t actually recommend that people destroy every piece of paper in their lives; that’s just unreasonable. Rather, what we aim for is an environment where paper is not a hindrance to you or your business.
At eFileCabinet, we acknowledge that paper has its place. We confess to taking handwritten notes, reading books in print, and even having multiple printers in our office! Our kids draw pictures on paper, we print our photos on paper, and we jot our grocery lists on paper. Paper is in our money and our personal hygiene products. We love paper, when it’s where it belongs.
The point here is that paper is still as useful now as it was when it was first created over 2,000 years ago, but its uses are much more limited now than they were in the past. Even the CEO of the major paper-producer Domat, John D. Williams, acknowledges that paper will never reach its former glory again. We are certainly not trying to break up the digital revolution, that would be a totally ludicrous idea. But we are trying to show people how paper can serve them in their lives.
So When Is Paper Good?
That leads us to the very important question, When should you use paper? Well, we personally think that all the touchy-feely reasons shown in the paper commercial are great times to use paper: writing personal messages, cherishing kids drawings, and physical photos that allow us to hold onto those we love. There are a few other places in our everyday lives where we think paper belongs.
For one thing, studies have shown that those who read physical copies of books comprehend the text better than those who read on a digital screen. In fact, most people, especially the screen-obsessed millennials, believe it or not prefer reading in print because it is easier to focus and they retain the information better. So keep the books coming, paper. We love them.
And of course, there are all those hygiene products that fill our bathrooms; it’s highly unlikely that iPads will be able to replace toilet paper anytime soon, and we’re quite grateful for that fact. Paper, we give you full reign of bathroom products and acknowledge your supremacy in that realm.
Then there’s the world of the arts. Sure, there are digital drawing programs, but you wouldn’t hang an iPad on your wall to show off beautiful works of art, and you don’t use your smartphone to read sheet music. From doodlers to Dali and Debussy, paper is an artist’s best friend, and it always will be.
We welcome paper into these areas of our lives with warm, open arms.
And Where Doesn’t It Belong?
But there are a few places that paper does not belong: namely, in your way. Any place that paper slows you down, clutters your life, or causes more problems than it solves is a place that paper shouldn’t be. That’s especially true of your business.
In a business, paper takes up time and space, both of which cost you money. Cutting down on the paper that is present in your office will make your business more organized, make your employees more efficient, and give you a lot fewer headaches (and paper cuts).
So, we’d like to propose a truce between paper and paperless document management systems. There’s no need to choose sides; we can coexist, and people can have the best of both worlds the ease and convenience of a paperless system, along with the simplicity and nostalgia of the paper world. We welcome paper into our bathrooms and onto our bookshelves with open arms. Just leave the filing cabinets to us.
By Erin Swan