Employers are continuously searching for innovative ways to transform office spaces into environments that encourage productivity, collaboration and growth. A paperless office is a worthwhile investment to boost efficiency and reduce your environmental impact, not to mention your chance of getting a papercut is significantly less. Read about the benefits of going paperless and see if this strategy is right for your business.
What is a Paperless Society?
The idea of a paperless society, in which all paper communication is replaced by digital communication and storage originates from the 1970s with the rise of computers. Yet almost forty years later, despite significant technological advancements under our belt, most organizations have yet to make the switch and achieve paperless status.
Originally coined as a marketing slogan to describe the office of the future, a “paperless office” is just that — a workplace where people create and collaborate digitally instead of on paper. This is achieved by working online and scanning and storing digital copies of paper documents.
Paperless Office Benefits
For a business, going paperless saves time and money and improves organization. When employees are more productive, companies become more efficient. Productivity and efficiency ultimately lead to growth.
Here are seven advantages to the paperless office.
1. Encourage Collaboration and Creativity
If collaboration is key, a paperless office is the means to an end. Tools like Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 make on-screen collaboration possible by allowing multiple people to work on a shared document simultaneously. You can collaborate in real-time, view edits in real-time and even chat while working. Collaborating on projects like this promotes creativity and allows for prompt feedback.
There are many other online tools offering simultaneous editing capabilities. When implemented, teamwork is enhanced. Going paperless facilitates remote working, so work can still get done even if getting together in person is not feasible. This can improve efficiency and boost morale.
2. Improve Business Processes
Daily tasks become more efficient when done digitally. Why? Digital document management speeds up administration — employees can review, delegate, authorize, or transfer information with the click of a button.
River City Trees, a tree service company in Australia, found their productivity improved tremendously after transitioning to Google’s G Suite. The company streamlined data-processing. Since much of the company’s business takes place off-site, going online made it possible for employees to have access to important documents at all times.
What’s more, meetings become more efficient when everyone has access to the same, most up-to-date information.
VCOG, a school board in the Netherlands, implemented cloud-based solutions for teachers, staff and students. With Microsoft Office 365, staff used OneNote to manoeuver between agenda pages during meetings and make notes where needed – just as they would on a piece of paper. After switching to cloud-based solutions, VCOG experienced a reduction in tens of thousands of printed pages.
3. Save Time for More Important Tasks
Have you ever misplaced or accidentally thrown away an important document? You’re not alone – large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds according to the Paperless Project.1
The search capabilities on electronic devices make it easy to find the file you’re looking for in a matter of seconds. Instead of trying to remember which cabinet holds the document you need, the search box on your phone or computer will find it using simple keywords.
A typical employee spends 30 to 40 per cent of their time searching for information in a filing cabinet. When documents are stored digitally, the retrieval of information becomes quick and simple, freeing up that time to complete other tasks.
4. Improve Security
Privacy and security are vital when it comes to storing your company and your customer data. To learn why companies shouldn’t take data privacy and security for granted, read this article on data best practices.
A common misconception is that paper documents are more secure than electronic files. In actuality, paper documents are not as safe as you might think. Even with locked filing cabinets, break-ins are always a possibility.
Password protected electronic security systems store documents on encrypted servers that can track when files are accessed, who accessed them and what changes were made. Only authorized users can view documents. With paper, the risk is that documents can be misplaced and end up in the wrong hands.
Over 70 per cent of the world’s businesses would fail within three weeks if paper documents were lost due to a fire or flood. Storing important documents to a cloud server offers peace of mind in the event of a catastrophe. Paper files run the risk of being destroyed forever.
When files are stored electronically, regular back-ups are done so that the most recent versions are saved.
5. Reduce Costs
Did you know the average office worker uses over 10,000 sheets of paper each year? Not only does going paperless save time, it’s economical too. Reducing paper means less money spent on buying paper, printing, or toner, as well as costs related to storage of paper documents.
6. De-clutter Your Space
Storage space is a primary concern when it comes to filing paper documents. Filing cabinets take up lots of space and require their own maintenance. When you convert to electronic documents, files are stored digitally, freeing up space and de-cluttering the office. Online data storage through sites such as Dropbox makes it possible to easily store and quickly share large files.
7. Reduce Waste and Improve Your Carbon Footprint
The world produces 300 million tonnes of paper annually 2 which adds up to cutting down four billion trees. At a time when socially responsibility is a requirement for many customers, reducing your ecological footprint is good for business. Doing your part for the environment and incorporating corporate social responsibility goals into your business model will set your company apart.
As you can see, the paperless office has its advantages. Transforming your work environment to allow for collaboration fosters creativity and increases productivity. Day-to-day business processes become more efficient and overall consumption is reduced. What’s good for the environment is good for the economy.
Geotab supports digital collaboration and paperless office strategies as part of our corporate sustainability. Read more about Geotab and the environment.
If you’re interested in other ways to create business efficiency, read this blog post on management by measurement with telematics.
- The Paperless Project, “Facts About Paper: Impact of Consumption,” n.d. Retrieved from: http://www.thepaperlessproject.com/facts-about-paper-the-impact-of-consumption/
- R. Goldsborough, “Toward a Paperless Society, Slowly,” Aug. 1, 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.infotoday.com/LinkUp/Toward-a-Paperless-Society-Slowly-102330.shtml
A Communications Plan Aimed at Boosting Employee Productivity and Security
How to Build a Great Company Culture like Google