Nearly 40 years after British-American information scientist Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster coined the term, the paperless office is still far from a reality.

According to a new study by Epson Europe, 64 percent of the 3,600 European employees surveyed conceded they prefer to read reports and white papers on paper. 

Why?

  • 53 percent cited the ability to ‘share/handout’  paper documents
  • 44 percent said they were easier to read
  • 41 percent cited the ability to edit and annotate

The same number — 64 percent — said the paperless is “unrealistic." That's somewhat surprising, given the number of collaboration and editing technologies available.

No one seems to be able to answer why paper has such a hold on workers. In the UK, for example, the printed page remains a crucial feature of office life, with 86 percent claiming that a ban on printing would “limit their productivity.”

But research demonstrates inefficient printing actually cuts productivity: European office workers spend nearly 19 hours every year walking to and from their printer.

Protecting Microsoft Email

Microsoft is out with a number of upgrades and releases designed to security your email.

In a blog post about the new functionality, Shobhit Sahay, technical product manager for the Office 365 team, noted the company blocks 10 million spam messages every minute. But hackers and attackers are upping the ante.

So Microsoft is fighting back against with enhanced protection, phish reporting and options to  block users from interacting with malicious emails. This new protection not only analyzes the attachment in real time, but also informs the recipient that the attachment is being analyzed.

This  functionality is still in private beta but will be made generally available later this quarter. The other products will also be available at various unspecified dates over the next three months.

Google Makes Drive Easier

Google also started the year with a couple of upgrades to some of its business apps, notably Google Docs, Sheets and Slides – Google Apps’ version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The principal upgrade is that Google is making it easier to switch between all three apps through the search function.

According to a Google Apps blog post, when you carry out a search from any document built in either of the three apps, the results page will display documents contained in all three apps.

It also made organization of files in Google Drive a lot easier. Through the Drive search function, users will be able to add and move files across Drive and into preferred folders.  You will now also be able to move files in the Preview list.

New Strides

San Francisco-based Stride launched a new collaboration and viewing application for iOS devices or for desktop users.

While many of the big collaboration platforms providing document sharing enables workers push documents around the enterprise, they don’t really tell you who is working on what document, where it is and what they have done with it.

Using the new Stride app, users can collaborate on Google Docs, Box and Dropbox. It provides a curated timeline of team activities through real time, mobile notifications about changes made to documents. You can also search for documents based on the authors and filters.

Stride is a micro enterprise founded in 2014 by John Robb formerly of VMware, Yahoo and Zimbra, and Sam Khavari, who also worked at VMware and Zimbra. 

It has already raised $800,000 from Silicon Valley angel investors and companies including Apple, Salesforce and VMware.