What is a Paperless Office?
A paperless office is a business approach where the usage of papers in the office is completely eliminated.
These kinds of practices help the organization to reduce costs and trying to convert the age-old used paper processes to digital systems which are far better to manage and maintain. Though the digitization was a little bit expensive, but the several advantages that come along with the technological advances is worth it.
With the world advancing so fast and quick, we have started to see several internet and software services growing and therefore paperless offices are also becoming a huge trendsetter.
Growing paperless happens to be a much better and greener option than using the reams of paper that could cut down on the expenses but training and security issues could make the whole matter impractical depending on the needs of your company.
One more avenue is to consider running the office with lesser paper instead of using a paperless office. On that note, here are some advantages and disadvantages you must know about having a paperless office.
How To Create a Paperless Office?
Change is an inevitable nature which is mandatory at times for the betterment of the present as well as the future. You need to be able to accept and abide by it, be it in professional as well as personal life.
But in this professional world, turning an office into a paperless office is not possible as there are times when you need to create legal documents and other contracts in physical paper format. Though with the help of technology you can make things very easy, but the importance of such paper formats hold its importance.
10 Simple Tips to Create Paperless Office:
With the advancement of technology, creating a paperless office is surely possible. Here are a few ways you need to follow.
- A scanner helps you store all the documents in digital format
- Share the necessary documents online
- Store all your business cards by scanning
- Reduce the printing of sheets in the office
- Avoid all paper format statements from banks and make use of e-statements
- Make use of cloud apps
- Request invoices from vendors through email
- Avoid old technology
- Make all your digital formats in readable mode
- Applaud employees who foster and maintain a paperless environment
Advantages of Paperless Office:
The following mentioned are few advantages or benefits of going paperless at work.
1. Reduces carbon footprint:
One of the most powerful benefits of having a paperless environment is that it can help not just the environment but also the operation at the same time. Having a green-minded worker and entrepreneur is that they may at times feel compelled to take their current filing cabinets, convert them into a proper digital system so that the earth is a better place to live in.
Paperless offices will always help in preserving wildlife, reducing pollution, reducing the reliance upon the waste that is created by documents over businesses. Apart from preserving trees, when you are working in a paperless office it will be much easier to get hold of documents. Not just that, it will also lower the chances of losing, misplacing the documents that contain confidential information.
2. Has access to documents from everywhere:
Having a paperless environment will help you get hold of documents from different computers, even if they have been stored on electronic files based on a secure service with the help of an internet connection or in case they upload such files in any cloud based services! There are several users who can get hold of a document at the same go, making it much less of a hassle for the scramble of such documents under time constraints.
It will not just get rid of those common office tasks but also get rid of all problems that are related to paper-based documents! Office workers will be able to get hold of electronic documents from the computers without leaving the desk.
There are several businesses that share such documents along with other enterprises with the help of secure emails or even protected network. This will help you save cash, boost more productivity and make it more possible to boost chances for companies.
3. Very easy to store:
When you have a digital document management system, all the documents shall come into the office and you can immediately scan the ones that have been stored electronically and make it much faster and easy to send all of them electronically to people who really need it. If you go paperless today, you will be able to store literally everything without having to waste too much paper. You will keep the environment happy and the workplace as well.
4. Automatic audit:
We have seen in the past few years that businesses have started to have very strict rules and guidelines on the compliance and also feel the need to store and record for several years. When you have the benefit of using a digital document management system, there shall be no limits to kind of documents you are storing and all documents shall have a unique number that will generate the audit trail automatically. This will also give you the ability to make all changes to the documents and still will keep the original with the audit guidelines and compliance.
5. Saves up time:
It is no longer needed to waste any time looking at such documents. The thing with document searches is that they can be done fast and easy and will give you result really fast. All such documents which are stored in the same way, in an organized fashion are also easy to retrieve at the same time!
6. Keeps things simple:
When you have a digital document management system, you will be able to simplify several processes of the business. Users may use authorities and transfer data whenever they want by simply using a few buttons. When they order goods and authorize the invoices, it proves to become beneficial especially because they are done digitally and doesn’t lead to much hassle.
The thing with digital document management is that it will let you create such security settings and will also give all its authorized users the right and ability to check and see the same documents. This definitely makes things easy when you have more than one user who wants to access the same kind of document or in cases where the company wants to use several sites.
8. Development of business:
When times are saved, most executives are able to spend their time in a more productive and beneficial manner. Not just that, it helps in developing the business in the right and most effective way. Recently a survey conducted mentioned that directors and most business managers would end up spending the time that they spend on business development and not anything else.
The thing with digital document management systems is that it will store all the documents on the servers that are secure. This also means that the ones who are authorized shall be able to get hold of all documents, retrieve them and also make it far more secure avoiding them to fall in wrong hands.
10. Leads to improved customer service:
A digital management system for documents will always lead to better and more accessible customer service. It will help you retrieve information like customer orders as well as documents which allows your business to provide customer service. Also when you have a better and much more improved customer service, you will get faster responses to the enquiries you send.
11. Boosts efficiency in the mail:
When you have a digital management system for handling documents, you will have much better mail facilities. Also, you shall be expected to save all emails into the whole system like any other sort of document that will make it much simpler and easy to search the mail history as well. Going paperless has definitely made life simple and easy for most people.
12. You also get returns:
Most businesses really don’t have to spend too much of the capital to have a better digital document system. They happen to be cost-effective which will also allow you to get better returns after investment within a period of six months.
Disadvantages of Paperless Offices:
1. Too much dependence on technology:
If most of your work is electronic, what will you do in case your laptop stops functioning? You not just have to try and search for other ways to getting hold of such documents but will also look up for backup options which are often hard in such cases.
In case you are dependent on the cloud, having a bad internet connection will cripple the business- you shall not be able to get hold of these documents, nor you shall be able to make, save any of the changes you made. In case you have a few offline documents, you can work on them when the net is off. But when you have no paper, what are you going to do?
2. Health issues:
Looking at the screen for a longer period of time could give some of your employees an eye strain. You could stare at the screen for a very long period of time but that will always lead to an eye strain and other health issues. Plus simply tapping away at the keyboard could give some employees carpal tunnel syndrome which is quite dangerous too. You may offer your employees an alternative with some tasks that are not computer-based in order to finish their tasks.
3. Dangerous for the environment:
A whole chunk of printed and paper documents will be recycled very easily. On the other hand, you will have electrical items which don’t need to be disposed off in a much smarter and effective manner otherwise dangerous chemicals shall be sent and released to the environment and damage your health at the same time. So be very careful when it comes to this. If you send dangerous chemicals into the environment, it could cause harm to others.
Next comes in mind is security. Nowadays the biggest risk of security tends to be on the internet. Most of the physical documents are easy to protect than these electronic files which most of the hackers may target and also obtain in a traceable manner.
When you are in a meeting with some clients, you tend to give them a professional looking brochure or maybe a leaflet that will not just catalogue but also give you a wonderful experience that may create a much better impression than using the same old power point presentations that people use or even PDF for the matter. You can use print techniques as well, so that you can create special printed products too that can be used for wowing the clients and gaining valuable businesses.
6. Making important notes:
Recent technological advancements have allowed most software programs to make more notes and electronic documents so that people can remember. But to be very honest, nothing does a better job than the yellow post note that we use. There is also something about most of these paper notes that will not demand your attention but will also prove much better than a word document that you will not even remember after some point.
Over the past few years, websites such as LinkedIn have gained a very professional way of getting hold of contracts so that they can search for a better new business but the business card is not always dead. It is still alive and people are using it. We do often think that printed cards have a bigger chance of prompting a spark for recognition than any LinkedIn profile.
8. Carbon debt:
This is also a common belief that when you have a paperless office or even a low carbon office, this may not always be the case. Most paperless offices tend to employ digital services but they must always be kept in charge and connected towards their mains by using more electricity which is given by the national grid.
Apart from that, most of the devices are also constructed by using environmentally damaging materials like heavy metals and petrochemical products. When you use sustainable paper, you will notice how a print-based office will become more conscientious than any other paperless office.
What Strategy Should you Consult?
You should always consult with your attorney when you check the pros and cons of going paperless. There are several state and federal regulations that expect you to apply some storage or even archiving documents of certain types like tax forms for example. You have to make sure that the business insurance that you will have will cover for any loss of electronic documents that will also include any sort of damage which may arise including the cost of replacing these. If you want a paperless office, we suggest you begin slow and then move up.
With that, we would like to bring the post to a close. If you have liked reading our article on paperless office and would like to give us some feedback, do let us know in the comment box below. We would love to hear from you.
Also, know that there are several advantages and disadvantages that come with paperless offices. But before you pick one, you have to consult with your boss and others who are working with you. Otherwise, it could turn to become a huge mistake. On that note, good luck!