Heck Yes, We Still Want Paper in the Office

Digital overload. It was a “thing” going into 2020, with more than half of workers surveyed by the Paper & Packaging Board saying they felt digital overload at work. Then the pandemic forced millions of people to work, learn and communicate mainly online, and we all dug in even deeper to a digital lifestyle.

At the same time, digital fatigue has ramped up with a vengeance. According to the Workplace Productivity Report 2020, digital overload is way up from previous surveys.

Image source: How Life Unfolds

That’s up by 21% from the previous report (which we wrote about in early March), as news of COVID-19 in the US was just starting to make headlines.

At that time, 52% of the workplace reported feeling the strain of digital overload, and 62% felt that digital tools were making them less focused and inefficient in meetings.

In just seven months, 52% is now at 73%. And to combat this growing sense of too much screen time, workers are turning to a traditionally low-tech source for comfort.

“The survey finds that since going remote, 73% of the 2,000 workers surveyed face digital overload, with more than half turning to paper to organize their thoughts, prioritize tasks, or just doodle to relieve stress,” notes the article from How it Unfolds.

According to productivity expert Holland Haiis, reaching for paper and non-digital tools to focus and organized is a good choice.

“Analog tools relax the mind, make space for problem-solving, and enable us to think about new ideas differently, whether writing or sketching them out,” Haiis told How It Unfolds. “It’s easy to look at meeting notes taken on paper and immediately become clear about the plan of action, and any unanswered questions that require follow-up.”

Certainly email, video calls, remote file sharing and chat apps are critical components of the modern workday for people working from home, but we are combatting the accompanying digital burnout in fun ways.

According to the report:

  • 74% of workers have purchased sticky notes for their home office this year;
  • 36% have purchased notebooks for their office; and
  • More than half say they are more likely to reach for paper and pencil during the course of their workday.

By using analog products like notebooks, sticky notes and paper to organize our thoughts and prioritize work, productivity goes up and the stress of staring at the screen diminishes.

So indulge your instincts to buy those notebooks or a good batch of sticky notes. Get a paper calendar for your desktop, or a new address book with a nice leather cover. It will make you feel more organized, more productive… and a whole lot more human.