In Estonia it is possible to establish a company online in three hours; file taxes online in less than three minutes; and thanks to its modern e-solutions, 99% of banking transactions in the Baltic nation are carried out online.
Right now, in terms of going paperless, Estonian companies are unfortunately the exception rather than the norm. Several factors – including its size and the technology-conducive foundations in place since the restoration of its independence 1991 (the country did not have the deep-rooted bureaucratic baggage as would be the case for other countries) – have led to this country of 1.3 million to become recognised as a leader in e-solutions.
Despite the rapid rise of digitalisation, the paper conundrum continues to persist across the globe. In fact, the United Nations are expecting paper usage to rise by an incredible 50%. Estimates suggest that, on average, an office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of paper each year.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Gordon Flesch Company Inc claim that as much as 30% of print jobs are never even picked up from the printer and, even worse, 45% of printed paper ends up in the rubbish bin by the end of the day. However, new technologies mean that the transition to a completely paperless workspace is now a real possibility.
No two companies are identical. Each has their own intrinsic characteristics and quirks, and this makes the development of a blanket approach to going totally paperless extremely difficult. However, the number of applications which can be utilised are growing by the day; PC Mag highlight five apps they argue can help people give up paper for good while boosting efficiency, productivity and mobility:
What lies ahead
Paper still plays a huge role in our everyday lives and will do so for the foreseeable future. A shift to a paper-light office will involve us really examining what documents need to be printed or those that don’t.
Digital solutions provide the platform to accelerate the transition but perhaps the most important facet of this change is not the technology, but ourselves. Changing innate, deeply-rooted behaviours is arguably the biggest challenge facing the paperless revolution.
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