Going paperless is a high priority for business today – and for good reason. According to Gordon Flesch Company, Inc, paper makes up 70% of office waste and 45% of paper ends up in the trash on that same business day. Simply put, printing is an expensive habit, and it’s notoriously bad for the environment.
Concerns about sustainability aren’t the only reason companies are cutting back on paper use, though. In fact, paperless companies have some clear advantages over their competitors, making them productivity powerhouses. For many, these four reasons for ditching print are actually more important than any eco-conscious logic.
One of the prime advantages of going paperless in the workplace is that it has the ability to make your workplace more productive. For example, when documents are only in paper form, employees have limited access to them. They need to exchange them, store them, and otherwise go out of their way to get vital information. Digital documents can all be stored on a shared server or quickly emailed between staff members, eliminating the need to dig through piles of papers.
Another advantage to taking your business paperless if that it makes it easier to create and finalize contracts. When businesses use paper contracts, someone needs to deliver them or print them out, and they need to be signed and returned. Depending on whether the company requires an “original” – the documents signed with a pen, this can take several days. However, as electronic signatures become the norm, clients can sign contracts on any device, no matter where they are. It only takes minutes for companies and clients to send, sign, and finalize a contract.
When companies print papers, where – besides trash or recycling – do they wind up? Most of the time all those papers end up as piles in storage boxes and filing cabinets. Over the years, archival documents may even fill a separate storage unit or warehouse. It can quickly become untenable and costly.
Rather than wrangling piles of files, digital documents lend themselves to modern document management systems, making them searchable, allowing users to classify and organize documents with tags, and these systems can even enhance document security, adding locks and password protections to specific items. Though many argue that document management systems are vulnerable to hacking, unless paper documents, the fact is that these systems simply provide a different model of security.
The Audit Advantage
Finally, businesses are adopting paperless practices because they make auditing internal transactions simpler. Unlike paper documents which, when falsified, are hard to verify, digital documents leave a trail. You can see who modified them and when. You can set them to track changes. Even when it’s not visible, digital documents are packed with data.
Going paperless is an affordable, convenient alternative to piles of papers and it’s the business model of the future. As more businesses adopt document management systems, electronic signatures, and ditch the paper waste, they’re transforming what the traditional office space looks like. No more file cabinets, no more printers, and no more messy desks – we’ve entered the age of the well-ordered database and empty waste paper baskets. Is your office ready?