The History of the Paperless Office

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The History of the Paperless Office

Creating paperless offices is a popular idea in business today. But how old is this idea? Discover the unlikely journey of the paperless office.

Early 1960s: Computers begin to have video display terminals, such as IBM 2260, allowing people to read text on the screen.

1969: BBC creates a short piece on the automated office future. All processes are streamlined, reducing inefficiency, but also eliminating human contact.

1970: PARC is founded by Xerox, an R&D firm, focusing on hardware and IT.

1975: Businessweek publishes ‘The Office of the Future’, predicting that all records would be electronic by 1990.

1976: IBM introduces the first commercial laser printer, IBM 3800. Soon after Xerox releases the first laser printer for the office.

1980-1995: Paper use doubles due to the rise in affordable laser printing.

The mid-1990s: Cloud storage begins to gain significant bandwidth with the internet.

2001: Sellen and Harper in ‘The Myth of the Paperless Office’, investigate why work is still dominated by paper.

2000-2009: American consumption of paper drops by 20%.

2007: Apple introduces the first iPhone.

2008: The Economist argues that the paperless office is coming with a new generation who rely less on paper, and more on technology

2011-2012: Smartphone use at work jumps from 37% to 60% in one year.

2013: Adobe reports 87% of respondents have a mostly digital office and 59% would like to be more digital.

2013: Millennials push for more tech, less paper. 16% of office workers use Dropbox. Rises to 31% for 18-31-year-olds.

Conclusion – The paperless office isn’t here yet. But, with faster technology and a digital generation, this future is on its way.