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Digitize Office Work? Yes, Please

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Digitize Office Work? Yes, Please
Digitize Office Work? Yes, Please

According to a recent study by TNS Emnid on behalf of the software manufacturer Sage, 71 percent of the more than 800 office workers surveyed consider “the vision of an almost paperless office in ten years” to be sensible. A third even fully agree with the statement. Only 27 percent tend to disagree or disagree. This makes it clear that the digitization of business processes in the office is generally well received by the employees concerned. But is an almost paperless office feasible at all? The market researchers also asked this question to the participants in the Sage study - and registered the approval of more than two thirds (67 percent) of the respondents on this point.

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“The results of our study show that the benefits have been received by office workers in German companies. The vision of a largely paperless office is sensible and feasible. Now it's up to the decision-makers. You have to create and expand the framework for paperless processes in the offices,”says Rainer Downar, Executive Vice President Central Europe at Sage Group plc. Software and digital transformation will be an important key to success in this task.

Time saving and environmental protection

A good third (34 percent) of supporters in Germany cite time savings in everyday work as the main argument for the paperless office, for example by finding documents and information more quickly. In Switzerland, only 17 percent of the supporters share this view. The Swiss mention 38 percent, the Austrians 44 percent, environmental protection as the most important driver. In Germany, this aspect is important for 32 percent of those surveyed.

Slow progress

Over half of the German study participants have registered a decrease in paper use in the office in recent years. Just under a third (30 percent) noticed no change and only 15 percent noticed an increase in paper consumption. In Austria (67 percent) and Switzerland (60 percent), on the other hand, the decline in paper use was significantly more pronounced. One reason for these different developments is obviously the way companies deal with the topic: While 65 percent of companies in Austria and 61 percent in Switzerland have taken steps to get closer to the paperless office, only 56 percent have taken action in Germany. But the personal actions of the respondents also differ significantly in some cases:In Germany, more than a fifth of the respondents (21 percent) almost always print out business documents that they receive by email. In Switzerland, only 15 percent do that. “Almost never”, on the other hand, prints 30 percent of their e-mails in Switzerland and only 22 percent in Germany.

Fear of data loss and bureaucracy are slowing down digitalization

According to the study, the biggest obstacles preventing German companies from reducing paper consumption through software use are the fear of data loss (62 percent) and high bureaucratic hurdles with regard to data protection and data security (46 percent).

Rainer Downar is Executive Vice President Central Europe at Sage Group plc
Rainer Downar is Executive Vice President Central Europe at Sage Group plc

Rainer Downar is Executive Vice President Central Europe at Sage Group plc.

Rainer Downar explains: "If almost half of the companies are prevented by bureaucratic hurdles from pushing ahead with digitization in the office, this will severely limit their competitiveness and pose a threat to Germany as a location. From the study on bureaucracy in German SMEs, we know that bureaucracy is a permanent burden on companies as a result of numerous changes to the law and new regulations such as the 'Principles for the proper management and storage of books, records and documents in electronic form and for data access (GoBD)' increases. We at Sage are therefore calling on political decision-makers to continue to effectively support the struggle of the economy against bureaucracy and to push digitalization forward.At the same time, we encourage decision-makers in companies to use their employees' openness more consistently and to equip them with suitable solutions on the way to an almost paperless office - for example, for electronic archiving or continuous digital processes."

So far, as the current Sage study on the paperless office shows, a good quarter of German respondents (26 percent) still experience a lack of willingness to change in their own company as a major obstacle to reducing paper consumption.

To the study survey

The paperless office study was carried out among 808 office workers in Germany (400), Austria (207) and Switzerland (201) by the market research company TNS Emnid on behalf of Sage GmbH.

This article first appeared on our partner portal Marconomy.

Additional information about Sage:

Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems and supports the ambitions of entrepreneurs worldwide. Sage started as a small business in the UK 30 years ago. Today, 13,000 employees in 23 countries support millions of companies in driving the global economy. Sage reinvents management and simplifies it with smart technology. Sage works closely with a growing community of founders, entrepreneurs, tax advisors, partners and developers. As an FTSE 100 Company, Sage is aware of its social responsibility. The company helps local associations and those in need of help through its in-house foundation, the Sage Foundation.

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