Survey Says People Like Paper, Dismisses Paperless Future
Sept. 20, 2006 (Press Release) - For decades now, technology pundits and visionaries have predicted the demise of paper, from Wang in the early 1980s to Bill Gates in the 1990s. Suffice to say, the paper trail isn't dead. If anything, paper has grown even more important in the wake of some of the largest corporate business scandals of all time.
But what do every day workers in America think about using paper in their office environments as opposed to working electronically? People still have an attachment to paper, and that will not change. But why is this? Is there a psychological reason someone needs to print something out, or file something into a drawer, almost acting as a safety blanket?
A recent survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation polled 1000 people in the general public. 60% said that they felt it was more stressful to read a 20 page document on a computer screen than it was to print out the pages.
In addition 65% of those polled feel they could not envision an office or a home with no paper in five years. Like it or not, paper is not going anywhere. Why? Because society does not want it to, that's why.
Dr. Gilda Carle, psychotherapist, professor, and author, is not surprised by the pro paper findings.
"People feel more secure when they are dealing with paper as opposed to electronic data. They can touch paper, feel it, and move it where they need it to be. That puts them in control of where there documents are at all times. People also feel an attachment to paper because it's a tangible item that they can permanently save in their own private place. Sometimes there is peace of mind in being able to hand a colleague a document rather than worry about whether it will not be received because of spam filters or email delays. Technology is streamlining the way paper is being used, but we're a long way from eliminating it altogether. Feeling the security of the tangible is one of our most primitive needs," Dr. Gilda explained.
Robert Voelk, CEO of Andover, MA based Omtool, a document solutions firm, thinks that we are a long way away from the paperless office and that the future holds more of a reliance on both electronic and paper forms.
"In this day and age of disaster recovery, technology is still vital for archived data. But paper isn't going away, it's simply being managed more effectively. The ability to harness data in both the physical and electronic form, a mixed mode of sorts, will be vital as the office evolves."