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What role does stationery play in a digital office?

10 March 2020

The digital office is paperless and mostly on screen. It’s a technology-driven environment designed to make everything accessible at the touch of a button – so, how does traditional stationery fit in?

Vision vs. reality

Like many innovative visions, the paperless office has yet to truly become a reality for many businesses. Key to this is the fact that legacy infrastructure is very well embedded and often there is a desire to retain physical files and documents to support the way that an existing workforce functions. Printing and writing, taking notes and sketching may be fundamental to productivity and day-to-day employee experience and, as long as that remains the case, stationery will continue to have a key role to play in a digital office. In fact, its role may be about to expand as UK stationery is predicted to increase to £2.1 billion by 2021.

Where does stationery have an edge?

Although digital infrastructure and innovative technology are incredibly appealing for many organisations there are some situations where stationery still offers an edge. For example:

  • Packaging and branding. In an office where any kind of dispatch is involved, stationery will be a requirement. This might be name and address stickers, branded packaging or pre-printed returns labels. If your business is sending out physical items then these office supplies are likely to be required.
  • Back up against downtime. With cyber-attacks increasing and the consequences of a power outage potentially severe, it often makes sense to keep stationery supplies stocked. This could provide a back up against downtime that may arise from service interruption where technology is concerned.
  • Personal preference. As more research emerges into the negative impact of too much screen time and individuals look for more varied ways to work, personal preferences often lead people back to stationery. That could be something as simple as going through a planning process in a notebook, as opposed to via a piece of software – or carrying a plane ticket printed out onto paper as opposed to via an app. There are many reasons why stationery might be a preference – and will continue to be, despite increasing innovation in digital technology.

New products for a new age

There is recognition among stationery designers and providers that there is a need to evolve products to make them more appropriate, and competitive, in this digital age. As a result, we are likely to see more innovation that optimises the potential benefits of combining traditional stationery with new technology. For example, many traditional stationery brands are currently developing products that allow for digital notes. This makes it easy to take handwritten notes and create drawings and digitizes them so that they are simple to send and store.

Despite the drive towards a paperless office, the reality for most businesses is that stationery is still an essential product to have. Plus, with increasing innovation and ideas development from providers changing the products that are on offer, stationary will continue to have a key role to play in the digital office for some time to come.  If you need advice on the best stationery options for your office, get in touch.