The concept of a paperless office is nothing new. In fact, it has existed for 45 years, but we are still far away from being completely paperless. In this article we list the five major benefits of going paperless for everyone and for businesses to help you make decisions and take the first step towards a paperless work environment.
Benefit 1. Boost productivity
One obvious benefit of a paperless office is that you no longer have to waste time digging through file cabinets to find the exact document you need. You may not realize that the time spent on filing, organizing and searching paper documents every day actually takes up a lot of your working time, and this time could be spent on more productive tasks and revenue-generating projects.
By using a digital document management system or software, you will find the file after a few clicks. You can not only search by file names but also by the file content, just as convenient as using Google. And you are free to check it on your mobile devices anytime, anywhere. If you need to edit documents, then electronic ones can be more than helpful.
Moreover, if paper documents that originally need to be sent and received by mail are shared by email or other communication software, operations like filling and signing directly on the electronic device can greatly save time, improve efficiency and avoid embarrassing situations such as a mail delay or loss.
Benefit 2. Save space
In addition to saving time, going paperless also saves space, which is a more visible benefit. The piles of paper documents, unprinted blank paper, file cabinets and bookshelves are all cumbersome and occupy precious space. Going paperless will help you and the company reduce the burden, make your desk tidier, and make extra room.
To complete the transition from paper to electronic files, all you need is a scanner and storage devices or just cloud services. For home office, you don’t even need a scanner, because the mobile phone can do the job. Indeed, you may still need to leave some space for these necessary equipment, but it definitely saves much more space than physical documents.
You may think that saving space is not important and necessary. But have you ever thought that if your company needs to expand, or if you have to move the office for some reasons, the traditional paper office model will bring huge troubles and heavy workload. Just think about the paper documents and file cabinets that must be moved, you will regret why you didn't start going paperless earlier.
Benefit 3. Reduce costs
The most practical benefit of a paperless office is cost saving. If you add obvious expenditures such as paper, printers, inks, toners, file cabinets, security boxes and related consumables like notebooks, pens, folders, pins, the sum can be a large number. And clearly, reducing the delivery of paper documents lowers your postage costs.
Another long-term benefit that is not visible but does exist is the reduction in personnel costs in consequence of time saving and efficiency improving. Employees no longer need to waste time dealing with chores related to paper documents, and thus have more time to focus on what's important. The company does not have to hire someone to handle such things, too.
Similarly, saving space leads to savings in rent. If paper documents are indeed a big burden for your office, and you are concerned about budget, it is recommended that you implement a paperless system as soon as possible. Moving to a smaller office will save rent and other expenses. After all, every inch of office space is expensive.
Benefit 4. Enhance Security
Traditional paper documents are difficult to track and manage. They may be lost, destroyed, or seen by unwanted people. Possible floods, storms, fires, etc. are also safety hazards. And to protect physical documents, you need to control the impact of the external environment, too cold, too hot, too damp or too dry could cause damage to your precious documents.
But an electronic document management system or software can tackle these problems by easily backing up documents, setting passwords and permissions to keep your documents safe. It allows you to adjust security settings according to different users, deciding whether one has the permission to view, edit, print and more. Also, you can keep a track of all the operations that are performed.
Benefit 5. Protect the Earth
Let me show you some facts: More than 40% of industrial logging goes toward the paper manufacturing process; The pulp and paper industry is the third most energy-intensive industry and the fourth largest contributor of greenhouse gas; 26 million tons of paper waste ends up in landfills in the US every year and it fills 16% of landfill space.
Therefore, in addition to benefiting ourselves and the company, more importantly, going paperless is a way to protect the environment and the earth. It is true that recycling can reduce environmental pollution, but it is not a fundamental method. A more sustainable solution is to simply reduce paper use altogether by switching to a paperless office.
You only know how many benefits there are once you are in a paperless work environment. And in the next article, we will introduce how to go paperless, with the help of some of the best office software such as Evernote, Google Drive, PDF Reader Pro and more.