We are shouting over and over again that the digital age is in full swing and that digital ‘the new normal’ is on its way. Despite the digital opportunities that our society offers us today, paper consumption has not decreased. There are even statistics that show that global usage is growing! The fact that we can’t just put paper on the side has made me think. It has prompted me to make a simple assessment: “Paper vs. digital.”

I started asking around in my area what the advantages of both paper and digital are. I did the same for the disadvantages. I have listed a few of them. I found it very interesting to find out from people, why do some still use paper and others have long since switched to a digital working environment?

Advantages of paper:
    It’s tangible.Large documents are easier to read on paperA note or a scribble is made easilySafe from cybercrimeNice to browse and look something up
Advantages digital:
    Information is always completeInformation is easy to share with othersIt’s fast way of information processingBy reducing printing costs, you work towards a better environmentShorter search timesStrong digital security methods for privacy-sensitive informationSpace-savingMore efficientBeing able to work independently of the location
Disadvantages of paper:
    Information is often incompleteMaking a lot of prints is a burden on the environmentIt only has a limited lifespanIt takes up a lot of spaceFault susceptibility is greaterNo control over who takes possession of what information, or who does it.
Disadvantages digital:
    Fears of cybercrimeArea-dependent; not all countries offer the same facilities and possibilitiesGeneration gapsPower dependentExpensive purchase of electronic devicesOften also Internet dependentNo more grip on employees; sometimes it becomes too flexible
If you look at the above points, it immediately becomes clear that there are more advantages of digital in comparison to the advantages of paper. And yes, of course I completely agree with the advantages of digital (otherwise I would have chosen the wrong profession.) What I find very interesting is that the advantages of paper are very much based on emotion and feeling. It’s tangible, nice to browse and scribble. The digital benefits are much more result-oriented; what can you achieve with this?

In any case, it is good to think about it; what do you really value as a user? For your own work situation but also for the organisation you work for. Perhaps a hybrid solution is a good middle way for some organisations. I myself am convinced that you can no longer ignore the digital age. You will have to find your own way in it and support what you value. There are plenty of opportunities in the digital world!

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