Illustration of printed documents and a photograph of a lady taking paper from a printer

The benefits of going paperless

The paperless office is an unrealistic ambition, but technology can help businesses cut the amount of paper they use and improve efficiency.

For most businesses, going paperless is an unrealistic ambition.

But there are ways that firms can use technology, including Brother scanners, to reduce the amount of paper they consume.

It’s called going paper-lite, and it’s a concept we’ve explored in our new research report.

It found that scanning is helping firms cut costs and improve sustainability, while also making storing and sharing documents more efficient, as this infographic shows.

Infographic displaying the results of Brother's Paper-lite research

For decades, experts have predicted that the office of the future will be paperless. We spoke to more than 800 small business managers and employees to find out the reality.

Are firms really going paperless?

  • 80% of managers say that they still print as much or more than they did two years ago
  • 61% are striving to use less paper, but not no paper
  • £1,502 average monthly print cost

So why are they still printing?

  • 69% of managers say they'll always need paper to some degree to operate efficiently
  • 55% of employees still print documents for filling and record keeping
  • 41% print reports
  • 37% print to read and analyse information
  • 30% print presentations
  • 18% print to edit documents

What's the alternative?

Scanning paper documents to turn them into digital files means they can be stored and shared more easily.

  • 61% of employees say their business is now reliant on scanning
  • 65% say scanning helps improve the quality of their work
  • 44% say it reduces clutter
  • 40% say it supports collaboration
  • 38% say it makes editing easier
  • 37% say it makes checking work easier

How can small businesses become paper-lite?

  • Get a Managed Print Service – used alongside scanning, an MPS can help optimise paper use, delivering cost and efficiency benefits
  • Digitise documents – scanning documents creates long-term efficiencies, supports collaboration and saves space
  • Move your printer – people who sit closer to printers tend to use them more, simply moving them further apart can help cut print volumes

With a joined-up approach, becoming paper-lite is a truly achievable ambition for British businesses, creating a range of efficiency, security, productivity and environmental advantages.


Scanning documents creates long-term efficiencies, especially when you work with a Managed Print Service partner that can create a scanning solution that’s bespoke to your business, without the need for a large upfront investment.

Discover how you can transform your business to become truly paperless today and improve your team's productivity and meet your sustainability goals.

Read the full report Paper-lite: Busting the myth of the paperless office here.

* This infographic is based on the results of two online surveys, targeting employees and managers of firms with 5 - 500 employees, conducted by Censuswide in May 2018.
To gather representative data from this diverse sector, a broad cross section of 408 adult employees in either clerical, manual (skilled or unskilled) or graduate entry level positions answered a 21-question survey, while 404 adult managers in junior, middle or senior management, or in director-level, business owner or C-suite positions answered a 20-question survey.

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