UK businesses have a 'ridiculous' paper problem – new research

A staggering 92 percent of UK businesses still heavily rely on paper documents, a new study has found. 

This dependence, deemed “ridiculous” by more than half (52 percent) of surveyed UK workers, reflects growing concerns about the environmental impact and sustainability associated with excessive paper usage.

The research, conducted by technology company Hyland, surveyed 1,000 full-time UK workers and uncovered a disconnect between the current paper-dependent practices and the desires of the workforce.

A resounding 70 percent expressed a desire for their companies to adopt more environmentally conscious approaches towards paper usage.

Despite the prevalence of paper-based systems, a significant portion of professionals (50 percent) admitted feeling guilt over their company’s paper consumption. 

Even more striking, 55 percent considered the volume of paper used in their workplace as unnecessary. 

The call for change doesn’t stop at mere acknowledgement; 69 percent of respondents expressed a desire for their organisations to offset paper consumption through tree-planting initiatives.

The proposed solution overwhelmingly leans toward going digital. A striking 73 percent of respondents believe that transitioning to a digital document management system would substantially improve their company’s sustainability efforts. 

However, dissatisfaction lingers with existing document management systems, as highlighted by 58 percent who find their company’s current systems inadequate. This suggests that outdated technologies might be perpetuating the persistent paper problem.

Tim Hood, VP for EMEA & APAC at Hyland, emphasised the urgency for change. He said: “The majority of British workers agree that the volume of paper usage in this country is unreasonable. 

“The demand to change things is high, driven by a conscientious desire to operate more sustainably – there are genuine moral grounds to consider technological solutions to the UK’s paper problem.”

Mr Hood stressed the need for comprehensive digital solutions that prioritise interoperability, enhanced efficiency, and user-friendliness. 

He said: “Addressing both paper usage problems and a wider dissatisfaction with existing digital management system requires digital solutions that offer better interoperability, improved efficiency, and true ease of use. 

“These qualities aren’t just about efficiency anymore; it’s about aligning progress with planetary responsibility.”


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