When you walk into a typical office building, we see staff working on computers, maybe a tablet here or there, those are to be expected. But there is something else that does surprise me. We still see lots of printers, lots of filing cabinets, and tons of paper. Why in the digital age do we still see so many physical documents? Let’s look at some of the numbers.

Every 60 Seconds:
• 48 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube
• 3,125 Photos are shared on Flickr
• 204,000,000 emails are sent out
• 100,000 tweets are posted online
• 571 new websites are created

Certainly lack of technology usage isn’t the reason we are dependent on physical documents. The fact that we send 204 million emails a second is astonishing. It is almost an unbelievable number. Yet I still walk into my office every morning and have paper files on my desk. So why do we keep printing? Some say it is because they don’t want to lug a laptop to a meeting, so it is easier to print out a copy of a document. That may be true, but let’s look at some hardware figures.

2012 Sales Increases:

• Tablets – 82%
• Notebooks – 11%
• Desktops – 0.5%

Other Figures:

• 49% of IT professionals claim to use a personal device for work
• By 2015 there will be approximately 82 million tablet users in the US
• 54% of tablet owners are 34 years of age and older
• Majority of tablets weigh under 1 ½ pounds
• 80% of tablet users say they have used their devices to improve their work/life balance

It seems tablets are becoming a preferred device, and are becoming more and more affordable. As most fall around a single pound in weight, they certainly aren’t a burden to carry to a meeting or elsewhere.
Paper will, at some point, start to dwindle in use. I believe that in a few years, tablet use in the workplace will explode, along with BYOD acceptance and cloud services being the preferred method of organizations. For now all we can do is deal with the papers on our desks, and do our best to limit them.