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Paperless office practices on the rise as COVID speeds up digitisation - study

The need for paperless office practices has grown significant as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report has revealed. 

A new survey of more than 2,375 business leaders and employees by Foxit Software found companies have dramatically increased their use of paperless business processes and PDF and related digital solutions during the pandemic. 

More than two-thirds of respondents (67%) say their company's need for paperless office processes has increased during the pandemic, versus only 1.2 percent who say that need has declined. In addition, some 59% said the need for PDF editing solutions has grown, compared to less than a half percent who said it has declined.

Respondents also told Foxit the pandemic has not negatively impacted their work productivity. In fact, just 18% said they believe their personal productivity has declined. Some 71% said they were working remotely more often due to the pandemic, the survey found.

"Paper was already becoming passé in many organisations, but this pandemic has dramatically accelerated its demise," says Frank Kettenstock, chief marketing officer of Foxit Software. 

"PDF editing and associated technologies, such as e-signature solutions, have become essential to the way people work and conduct business," he says.

"As with many other changes hastened by Covid-19, the shift away from paper and toward more digital PDF processes will have a lasting effect on organisations around the world."

Foxit Software surveyed 2,378 business people, many of them Foxit customers, for its study. 

Among other findings from the survey:

  • Sixty eight percent of respondents said PDF solutions have played a more important role in their communications with customers.
  • Fifty three percent reported their need for e-signature technology has grown during the pandemic, compared to less than one percent who said it declined.
  • Forty two percent said they read PDF documents on mobile devices more often since the start of the pandemic.
  • Forty five percent said the need for document security has grown due to the pandemic, versus less than half a percent who said document security has become less of a concern.
  • Forty thee percent said the pandemic has made work more difficult, but only 18 percent said it has reduced their productivity.

"Thankfully, digital technologies, and most certainly PDF, have allowed many workers and businesses to remain highly productive and engaged during a challenging year," says Kettenstock. 

"We believe the digital lessons learned during this pandemic will pay important dividends as we move beyond the Covid lockdown."