back to article Paperless office? 2.8 trillion pages printed in 2020, down by 14% or 450 billion sheets

Around 450 billion fewer pages were printed from home and office devices in 2020 as COVID-19 disrupted the world of work. The direction of travel has been obvious in recent times: people were printing less even before the pandemic took hold, but the decline was sharper last year as volumes plunged 14 per cent on 2019 levels to …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Flipping pages

    If we had e-ink readers that allowed to quickly scan through piles of documents, good search capabilities and cheap enough to have a pile of the on the desk, then paper would be gone in an instant.

    I have cut down on my paper notes massively with reMarkable 2. Unfortunately this thing is so slow, it does not let you meaningfully go through documents. There is also no way to quickly search through your notes - again, it's too slow. But you can always have some sort of a naming system or just search on a computer.

    The deal breaker, however, is lack of encryption. That is you can't really use it for anything sensitive and definitely not for business.

    If someone solves this problem, they could become billionaires, but make no mistake - paper lobby is still strong. They had enough influence to outlaw cannabis cultivation worldwide, they'll have no problem whacking someone trying to kill their paper tiger.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Deal breaker

      Fundamentally the problem is not encryption. It sounds nice, that this is the key to the situation, but that is focusing on a technical addendum.

      The real issue, why [we businesses] must, and still do, print (pretty much) everything is RETENTION. That is, the law requires business transaction documents to be retained for a minimum of 7 years. Can a computer be absolutely trusted to not lose the data - by any and every mean - for 7 years? For a record to not become corrupted in any manner? For a fundamental chain of proof that this record has never been altered sometime after the initial transaction, especially if the customer authorizes / signs / confirms the details?

      Sadly we are at a state of technology where paper, STILL, is the only level of proof that retains those features. A signed contract on paper can be proven to be unaltered by comparing the client and source copies. Can this be guaranteed by computer, 40 years from now when that legal will needs to be read back under oath? We can barely read legacy storage media from 25 years ago, forget 40. Will that HDD still spin up after 40 years??

      So we are STUCK with paper unless, and until, someone makes digital storage media that is stable and accessible for at least 50 years, plus say add confirmed blockchain to any document that can be construed as a legal document in any court or inspection.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Deal breaker

        Very good points!

        I think viable option may be Blu-ray and crypto signatures - technically that storage should last at least 50 years when stored appropriately, but who knows if you will be able to get the reader anywhere in 20 or so years.

        Probably you could. There is still a way to read old floppies...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Deal breaker

          And what of museums and libraries' collections of old books and documents? The Magna Carta survives because it was written on vellum (story to all the vegan readers). Social historians want to read documents over 100 years old and some UK government documents are embargoed from public access for 100 years. The national records office at Kew must be worried about what they can preserve of current government documentation for future generations to mull over.

        3. spireite Bronze badge
          Coat

          Re: Deal breaker

          You sure about the using of old floppies?

          Plenty of grandfathers are disappointing grandmothers!

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Deal breaker

        Can a computer be absolutely trusted to not lose the data - by any and every mean - for 7 years?

        Can paper be absolutely trusted to not catch fire for 7 years? Having a sprinkler system might stop the fire from destroying all the documents, but may leave some of them unreadable.

        Not sure if retention laws are the reason for paper - are companies really printing documents that are otherwise 100% electronic throughout their lifecycle just to put them in a basement or storage facility? Sending tapes to Iron Mountain (especially if you have two copies and keep one locally for easier access) would probably be a better guarantee you can comply with document production requirements than printing copies no one ever reads and piling boxes up to the ceiling in some warehouse. And tapes are immune to ransomware attacks, at least.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Tape

          Tape does not have a long-term stable shelf life, the oxide can flake off the base layer after a few decades, faster if stored in humid conditions.

          If the document is extremely important, for paper, you simply make additional copies, verify the copies (for example, have them notarized) and then store the copies in alternate locations of your choice.

          The issue is that paper, at least good quality paper, stored under reasonable conditions, has readily been proven to last past 50 years. Almost all of us can all go to the central branch of the library at your largest metropolitan area and witness newsprint at least 100 years old. We haven't been able to prove that level of retention to any shape, or form, of digital yet.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Tape

            I've still got SF books I bought at as a young teen which I still read. Even the ones I bought new are nearly 50 years old. Many were 10, 20 or more years older when I bought them and I still re-read them now and then. Most were paperback, so not exactly high quality paper and they've lived in bookcases, not humidity controlled environments. A very small number are "delicate" in that the spine binding glue has given out, but the paper, despite some yellowing, is fine, even after being in my school blazer pocket sometimes for days at a time. Many are a bit ratty looking and worn, but they were second hand and looked like that when I bought them :-)

      3. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Deal breaker

        I know there is a lot of cloud hate on this site but yes with the reliability of AWS S3 and if your really paranoid, then use bucket replication you can be assured your document will not disappear.

        As far as chain of custody there are security measures that can be put in place and effective means to assure that the original documents are unchanged.

        We in the US construction industry must retain data for in some states up to 10 years. The problem is not storage or validation it is getting the humans to put the information where it belongs and not left on their laptop or in their personal email where it can be lost!

        (And then expecting IT to find and retrieve it after 7-10 years when the principals have long left the company and probably most of the IT staff have turned over!)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Pirate

          Re: Deal breaker

          >>I know there is a lot of cloud hate on this site but yes with the reliability of AWS S3 and if your really paranoid, then use bucket replication you can be assured your document will not disappear.

          That sounds dangerous for its own set of reasons. e.g. My books don't all evaporate if I max out my credit card, my bank screws up paying the bills, or I lose my key.

        2. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Deal breaker

          We still have not got to grips with digital archives, how to maintain them, how to make them available and critically how to make them long-lasting not just from the file itself but how to access it and read the information it contains.

          How does S3 bucket replication prevent a document from disappearing?

          The document is still digital, can be deleted on a whim and is trusted to a service that the document owner does not necessarily control.

          Replication only protects you against infrastructure failure, not the most likely event, human or process failure. If the service or access to the service disappears then what? Sure, paper can be thrown away or shredded but it is a very conscious decision. Terabytes of data, billions or documents can be destroyed in seconds with a few keystrokes.

          Paper, from a long term accessibility and being able to read it in the future is still king. It may be a bit yellow or fade but other than human eyeball mk1, nothing is needed to process it in order to view it.

      4. rcxb1

        Re: Deal breaker

        <blockquote>Can a computer be absolutely trusted to not lose the data - by any and every mean - for 7 years? For a record to not become corrupted in any manner? For a fundamental chain of proof that this record has never been altered sometime after the initial transaction</blockquote>

        You can use WORM LTO tape or M-Disk Blu-ray recordable discs. They absolutely will last 7 years under practically any stresses a paper copy would survive, while taking up a tiny fraction as much space. Think of it as the modern version of microfiche.

        Your belief in the "proof" of a physical piece of paper is unfounded. Forging signatures on (changed) documents/contacts is quite easy.

      5. LDS Silver badge

        "Can a computer be absolutely trusted to not lose the data"

        A running computer, no. An external storage, yes. Don't know in your country, but here laws do allow to store data needed for "retention" on any kind of WORM storage with cryptographic signatures and timestamping. That works well enough for any document that doesn't require more than ten years of retention. For longer times there could be still issues, true.

        Since two years ago we also have now "digital invoices" that are actually digitally signed and don't really need a distributed ledger as in a blockchain (which is designed to not require a "root authority"). They are archived by specific providers and the revenues service itself.

        Many data once held in local archives now can be easily moved to larger ones, that should also be far better managed and resilient (at least I hope...)

        The obsolescence risk is real, anyway - and it's clear it is not possible to leave just to commercial companies the decision of what formats are available and their readers. If we want digital archives we need also to dictate the formats and how to read them for a very long time. After all we did with alphabets, languages and documents format and organization in the past.

        Anyway, even paper can be damage and become unreadable. There are many archived destroyed by fire and water. Today, even documents printed with bad inks may not last for very long times. Especially those printed with inkjets printers - many of the easily damaged by water.

    2. CRConrad

      Huh, wha???

      > make no mistake - paper lobby is still strong. They had enough influence to outlaw cannabis cultivation worldwide

      Ehhh... The paper lobby did that? I could understand you blaming the tobacco or alcohol lobbies, but paper?!?

  2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Need to print

    The number of documents I need to print per year for personal reasons might amount to about a dozen or so. For WFH, the number of documents I need to print is none. I do print some because a hard copy is sometimes more convenient to use. While I might extreme in my numbers, the point is for many there are relatively few documents one might need to print versus print for convenience. As people get more used to viewing documents electronically, the number will continue to drop.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Need to print

      Agreed. The only reasons I print are:

      1. To have something to mark up as I work on a problem (notes on a schematic, etc)

      2. Archival long term storage storage

      3. Label or cutout images

      I may have printed 20 or 30 pages this year.

      Aside: Where does the data in the article come from? I can't believe a "survey" would be very accurate...you'd want to pull the page numbers from each of the printers in your office & add them all up. Unless the printer manufacturers are telemetering that data...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Need to print

        >Where does the data in the article come from? I

        A lot of office printers are sold on per page charges, especially for the highest volume users.

        Then you can add in toner / drum sales and paper supplies.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Need to print

          For clarity, a lot of office printers are pay per page including toner, staples where applicable and repairs. The customer only provides the paper and pays the monthly fees, which, IIRC, is a minimum rental fee ie they always pay for the first 50000 pages then it goes up per page from there. The ones we lease email us if there's a problem and auto-order consumables a couple of days before they will be needed which are shipped direct to the printer location, not just the company/org goods inwards

          (I'm not directly involved in that side of our business, tany figures quoted are for illustrative and entertainment purposes only :-))

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Need to print

            "The ones we lease email us if there's a problem and auto-order consumables a couple of days before they will be needed which are shipped direct to the printer location, not just the company/org goods inwards"

            Or in our case the printer conks when a toner is empty, we ask where's our "auto" toner delivery, they say you received it yesterday, we say no we didn't, are you sure you're monitoring this particular printer, they swear blind they are, we manually order the toner, next time it conks out we ask where's our toner, lather rinse and repeat. Ain't working from home great!

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Need to print

        Our main use of office printer seems to be expense claims.

        For some reason they all have to be printed out and filed away in cabinets for years on end.

        Biggest irony is photocopying receipts onto A4 paper because they don't want to bother with stacks of little bits of till-roll stapled to the claim form.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Need to print

          "Our main use of office printer seems to be expense claims."

          Is this a solicitors/lawyers office? I've been emailing mine in, with photos/scans of receipts for at least the last 15 years, probably more like 20 years.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Biggest irony is photocopying receipts onto A4 paper

          You're lucky - we both need to supply them as scans (which they print) and then consign by hand any receipts.

          Our HR wants everything on paper. They send out documents you need to print and return to them signed by hand. Sometime I think they get bribes from printers and paper manufacturers...

      3. T. F. M. Reader

        Re: Need to print

        My most common reasons to print are:

        1. The need to sign / scan / send back the signed copy - digital signing is not all that common (yet?). Of course, I only print the pages I need to sign and and then replace them in the original PDF or whatever, but sometimes you are required to initial every page. And sometimes - not always - I do need one or more hardcopies for various reasons.

        2. When I travel I always print all the necessary documents: boarding passes, hotel and car reservations, some essential pages of the insurance policies, event tickets, etc. At least as a backup - I just don't trust my phone or its battery or its Internet connection to be 100% reliable at 4AM in a foreign airport. In addition, phones are a lot less convenient than a sheet of paper stuck in your passport at a security check or at a boarding gate where you need to scan a hi-res QR code to get on a plane while handling a trolley, a computer bag, and a coat or jacket.

        With Covid and the need to present multiple proofs of vaccination, negative pre-flight PCR tests, various declarations listing all the places you have and have not been to in the last 2 weeks (every country has its own green and red and amber lists that change all the time) and entry permits issued by various countries' health authorities in response to those declarations, I suspect that for my last trip a couple of weeks ago printer paper and ink cost me more than flight tickets.

        YMMV. On both points above.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      This is why I got HP Instant Ink

      I was printing so rarely several times I had to replace ink cartridges that had dried up from lack of use. Now that's HP's problem, though I haven't had that happen since I got the printer a few years ago. Makes me wonder if they tweaked the formula for the Instant Ink cartridges to avoid that when it happens on their dime lol!

      It was a better deal when the cheapest tier was "free", but even at $0.99 a month for 15 pages it is a good deal for me since they added a three month rollover when they went to $0.99. I know I was spending more than $12/year on cartridges before despite hardly ever printing!

      If I ever needed to print a lot I could switch to a more expensive plan for a month, or go to a print shop.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    a drop that was even more pronounced for A3 devices.

    So how many people have an A3 printer at home?

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: a drop that was even more pronounced for A3 devices.

      I do.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: a drop that was even more pronounced for A3 devices.

        Me too (I only ever seem to use it for A4 printing, but it is important to have the capability).

    2. seven of five Silver badge

      Re: a drop that was even more pronounced for A3 devices.

      A3 inkjets are very affordable, mine can also print and scan duplex, has an adf, cable network, wifi, second paper tray, all for less than 400 Eur.

      1. status203
        Unhappy

        Re: a drop that was even more pronounced for A3 devices.

        "...all for less than 400 Eur"

        ... per page! Ink's expensive.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: a drop that was even more pronounced for A3 devices.

          Ironically the bigger the page the less ink you use - assuming large format inkjets are used for schematics or architectural plans.

          Unless hipsters now print out "blueprints" out of nostalgia. I'm old enough to remember actually using blueprint printers as a PFY.

        2. seven of five Silver badge

          Re: a drop that was even more pronounced for A3 devices.

          Actually, a set of ink is 50 Eur for around 500 (out of 800 claimed) pages,which i deem acceptable.

    3. Snake Silver badge

      Re: A3 devices

      I've have more than several A3-sized devices. The Tektronics (!) both died after their heads clogged from being allowed to sit too long.

      And throwing out two 200 pound printers is a royal PITA.

      The Epson 1280 also died from eventual head clogging. The Canon is doing much better.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: A3 devices

        I rescued my old Epson the other week by wadding up wet tissues thick enough to slide under the head to dissolve and wick out the dried up ink. Since I only had the one to experiment with and didn't want to damage it, I repeated this about 10 times over a couple of days. It now works almost as good as new with a cheap set of refilled tanks. Now I need to consider if I have enough use for it to buy some bottles of ink to re-fit and refill the CIF tanks.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Schooling stuff

    Needed to print for the various tests and exams prep that the children have had to go through. Averaging a few hundred pages a month across 3 children.

    Have a £3 or so HP Instant Ink thing though so it's not a problem and plenty of roll over pages.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Paper doesn't need electricity

    Paper per se isn't so much of a problem as it can be produced from renewable resources in managed forests or other sources of cellulose, though of course many of the plantations of trees for paper have turned into boomerangs. It's great for archiving as it can't be wiped by magnets or EMP or require a dedicated device for reading.

    And the real offenders, who print out a copy of nearly everything (all the pages of all the presentations in all the e-mails), are still at it.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: "Paper per se isn't so much of a problem(...)"

      Paper manufacturing is intensely pollutive and energy consuming, and the kind of trees used for it are mostly eucalyptus, who are among the worst water draining and soil exhausting species, so paper production is very much a problem.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Won't someone think of the children

        Paper manufacturing is intensely pollutive and energy consuming

        Along with pretty much every other industrial process… Someone has probably attempted to calculate the total impact of replacing paper archives with electronic equivalents. Really, in our current gadget-obsessed age, paper isn't really the problem. If you can get people to cut down on their use, or even make them aware of it, then you're making progress.

        In some places eucalyptus has indeed been used, elsewhere it's native conifers on appropriately poor soils, and elsewhere straw is used at least for part of the process.

        Now making toilet paper straight from trees is another matter…

        1. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

          Re: Won't someone think of the children

          >Paper manufacturing is intensely pollutive and energy consuming

          >Along with pretty much every other industrial process…

          The problem is the ability to use computers to produce thousands of pages of guff. That does not just waste paper, it wastes people's time wading through useless blah, even if it is online.

          When I was at uni, I did not have a computer, and wrote all my reports by hand. This took a certain amount of planning, if you did not want to mess up the presentation with alterations, or rewrite the whole thing. There was no cut-and-paste, except literally with a knife and some glue. I understand Beethoven's manuscripts were a right mess because of his alterations.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "Paper per se isn't so much of a problem(...)"

        > and the kind of trees used for it are mostly eucalyptus, who are among the worst water draining and soil exhausting species,

        Yes, the endless eucalyptus forests of Scandanvia and Canada teaming with grizzly koalas

        1. FozzyBear

          Re: "Paper per se isn't so much of a problem(...)"

          Watch out for those Drop Bears!!!

      3. Snake Silver badge

        Re: "Paper per se isn't so much of a problem(...)"

        "Paper manufacturing is intensely pollutive and energy consuming"

        Oh yes. As I've mentioned in the past, unlike most people in a "past life" I've actually been inside paper mills and they are pretty much a rolling eco disaster, YMMV on the level of "disaster" though depending upon how serious the company is with maintaining some level of cleanliness and 'decorum'.

        But they can be considered the definition of "clean" compared to chemical plants. O.O And yes, I've visited them personally as well.

        For as short as a time as I needed to be within the blast radius and still get my job done.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "Paper per se isn't so much of a problem(...)"

          "For as short as a time as I needed to be within the blast radius and still get my job done."

          I know a fine dust/air mixture and be very explosive, paper mills, grain silos, custard powder factories etc, but of the 100,000s of those places around the world, how often do they actually explode? And what's the odds of it happening while you are there? We used to have a paper mill on our customer list, went there many times, well aware of the explosion risk (H&S induction on first visit and signs everywhere), but then never really thought about it after the initial lecture, other than following the rules regarding flammable items and anything that can generate sparks in certain limited areas. Ditto for nuclear plants and chemical factories. Been to many of those. Well, only one actual nuclear power plant. On the other hand, I've been to Hartlepool many times and they have a nuclear power station a short distance from the town centre.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: blast radius

            I'm talking about showing up at the gate and having a forced inspection of the vehicle to make sure we didn't have any recording devices.

            Afterwards we were brought into the guard house. "Please sign these papers", we were told / asked.

            "What are these?"

            "Disclaimers that, if anything should happen to you while you are on our property, you can't sue us."

            :hands us items in plastic bags:

            "What are these?"

            [a direct, exact, word-for-word quote] "Gas masks. If you hear the alarm you know what to do".

            Yep. In and out as FAST as I could manage.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Paper doesn't need electricity

      "It's great for archiving as it can't be wiped by magnets or EMP or require a dedicated device for reading."

      Yet it can be wiped by a flamethrower or matches or a hose. If someone is deliberately trying to destroy the stuff, you can manage it either way. And EMP? If you're worried about EMP damage to your backups, you have lots of more important things to worry about too. If it's a human-caused EMP, you should probably worry about the other things humans do when they get violent enough to set one of those off. A bomb will do more damage to your backups. If it's the sun, you don't have the bomb worries (until three days later when people get more desperate), but your systems will still be down and your ability to make use of the backups will be degraded.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Paper doesn't need electricity

        "A powerful EMP destroyed my data retention tapes" would almost certainly absolve you of responsibility for not being able to comply with retention policies, given that so many others would be similarly affected by a solar induced EMP or high altitude nuke. I'm not sure whether an EMP powerful enough to erase tapes would not also end all life on Earth, but let's say it can do so without killing us in the process.

        Either way the effect on society in general would be so great no one is going to care that you can't produce records from 2014 on demand.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Paper doesn't need electricity

          Business opportunity - selling Gamma Ray Burst data loss insurance

        2. idiot taxpayer here again

          Re: Paper doesn't need electricity

          @DS999

          "Either way the effect on society in general would be so great no one is going to care that you can't produce records from 2014 on demand"

          Are you sure of that? If anyone actually does survive said attack, it will be the fucking "jobsworths"

  6. Barry Rueger

    One crash = more paper

    I suspect that the inclination to print important documents increases directly with the number of times you've had a hard-drive give up the ghost.

    No electronic storage technology is 100% reliable, amd certainly a technology that looks great today may turn out to be like the "indestructible" CD media we all bought 25 years ago.

    When I'm heading to the airport I carry the ticket on paper against the chance that at some critical point my smart phone battery runs out.

    My experience after 40 odd years of computers and electronic storage is that you have to assume that they'll fail you and plan accordingly.

    And of course, backup everything.

    1. Commswonk

      Re: One crash = more paper

      And of course, backup everything.

      By printing off two copies...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: One crash = more paper

        One solution to preserving movies that now only exit digitally, is to print them as 3 black-white copies (one for each color) on monochrome film stock.

    2. Justthefacts

      Re: One crash = more paper

      Printing out boarding passes is *so* 2019. Presumably you haven’t travelled in the past couple of months: these days, printing out a boarding pass isn’t going to allow you on the plane.

      You need your “passenger locator form” and/or QR code, depending where you are travelling to. Those can only be generated two days in advance. Unless you bring a printer with you when you abroad, you will be relying on the image displayed on your smartphone.

      Sign of the times.

      Presumably soon enough this will be electronically attachable to your passport in some sort of SIM card effort, for reliability of carrying. There must be some sort of word for an attachment to your passport giving entry and exit dates with health status. If not I will coin the word as “a travel visa”.

      1. Justthefacts

        Re: One crash = more paper

        I have literally no idea about the downvote?!

        You don’t like passenger locator forms, and rather they didn’t exist?

        You’re just upset that travel visas turned out to be a sensible idea for public health reasons, which has always been one of the two main reasons for their being universal around the world?

        Another interesting development. In Spain, printed menus in bars and restaurants have essentially disappeared. They all have QR codes only, and you are expected to look at it on your smartphone. Even in places with waiter service, I don’t mean ordering online.

  7. Lee D Silver badge

    I have a 21 year old printer. I use it a couple of times a year.

    In work, I am the IT Manager. I print once in a blue moon and ALWAYS for other people.

    I see no reason to be printing this amount of stuff, and for COVID we eliminated huge rafts of paperwork and literally nobody cared that we'd done so. It's all now recorded electronically, so you have far better proof and ability to process and forward the forms that would normally have to be paper. The paper went, people thought it worked better, now people don't give it a second thought. We could have done that at any time.

    Same as working from home.

    In terms of stuff I receive on paper at home, I literally get one paper form from my local council a year, everything else is junk mail. No bills, no statements, etc. It's all electronic. Filed. Stored forever. Easily comparable. Easily available any time I like.

    It's time we just owned up to it and stopped printing, because we only print because OTHER PEOPLE think they must have it on paper for some reason.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The paper went, people thought it worked better, now people don't give it a second thought. We could have done that at any time.

      Same as working from home."

      Inertia is a powerful force. It can take a powerful $something to overcome it. The real test of what has changed will be how much change has still stuck next year or maybe the year after and how much returns to the same old, same old.

  8. J27 Silver badge

    I'm fairly convinced that 90%+ of the printer usage is people who print out every email, giant technical manuals, or otherwise waste paper. Normal workers probably print well under 100 pages a year (unless you have a job that involves a lot of printing). I think I printed 3 sheets of paper all last year.

  9. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

    This will never end. We still have employees printing emails and putting them in filing cabinets!

  10. MachDiamond Silver badge

    The tax man cometh

    It's more than the good ol' A4 sheet of paper. It's those tiny scraps of paper we call receipts. Of course they are all different sizes and don't declare the important details of the purchase such as the department they are accounted against. The Tax Man wants to see all of those little scraps of paper to verify that you aren't just telling some C&B story about all of your expenses. For me, that means affixing them to an A4 sheet of paper and making a note about the purchase so it can be stored in a filing cabinet and eventually a storage box. I hold on to business records for at least 10 years. They "say" that it's only seven years, but then they will make some sort of exception or require some document to substantiate the depreciation on a piece of equipment going back further.

    More than requiring a device that can accept the storage medium, you also need to make sure that you have software that can read the files and a computer that software will run on. Easy for text documents, but problematic for accounting files.

    I find it fascinating when history shows display an old ledger from a company or the household accounting from a time when royalty made a visit. An old floppy isn't going to yield anything useful in 150 year's time.

  11. druck Silver badge

    Home schooling

    We had to print a lot of worksheets while home schooling the children. Using a tablet is no substitute for writing, drawing and colouring on paper for early primary school age children.

    1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

      Re: Home schooling

      "We had to print a lot of worksheets while home schooling the children. Using a tablet is no substitute for writing, drawing and colouring on paper for early primary school age children."

      Same here, several sheets per day for several months. Could have been the same number of worksheets that the child would have had if they were in school, in which case the printing was simply transferred from school to home.

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