Making the decision to go paperless at work is a big one. It could mean completely upending all of your processes already put in place, making new ones, training your whole team to know the process, and then there’s always going to be growing pains with any big transformation.
Whew, just thinking about it can seem very intimidating. Going digital is a big decision. Before you make the move to paper-free, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each.
The Cons: Disadvantages of a Paperless Office
Let’s talk about the negatives first, because we’re sure that’s what’s on your mind first when anyone suggests a huge overhaul of your business practices.
1. The Investment in Re-Training Everyone
One of the biggest disadvantages of a paperless office is the need to retrain your entire team. Getting everyone on the same (digital) page would take time, and therefore money, away from your business in the SHORT TERM.
Making sure everyone is up to speed on the new system and way of doing things could take days. That is the time that could be spent meeting your client’s needs or making new business deals, and in the short term, you could potentially lose time and money. That’s just the way the paper crumples.
2. Increased Reliance on IT Security
No one can hack a filing cabinet (unless you count breaking the lock with a hammer) so you might feel more secure with all of your documents securely in hard copy.
With a completely digital system, you increasingly rely on IT security, so your confidential documents aren’t stolen. Maybe your IT processes aren’t secure enough right now to protect all of your documents from harm, and that’s going to be another added cost and disadvantage of a paperless office.
3. Resistance to Change
Anytime you make a big change in the office, there are going to be people who are resistant to change. Maybe it’s because when they weigh the pros and cons of going paperless, they only focused on the cons. Or maybe they are afraid of trying something new and upending the process with which they’re familiar.
Change can be scary, but that shouldn’t be the reason you don’t try something new, right?
The Pros: Advantages of a Paperless Office
Now that we have the disadvantages out of the way, let’s focus on the positives! There are a lot of advantages to a paperless office, especially in the long run. Let’s take a look at some of the more positive aspects of transitioning to a paperless office.
1. Paper-Free Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
For companies that want to be more environmentally conscious, reducing paper use is one of the top advantages of a paperless office. With climate change a more looming threat reducing your carbon footprint as a business is a step closer to cleaner air and water, reduced consumption of trees, and reduced carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Reducing your carbon footprint might not necessarily make a significant impact on your profits; it’s more like setting an intention of caring about the planet and making a difference for everyone. There is also the possibility that reducing your carbon footprint and making it a public company policy will bring in customers and clients who consider environmental friendliness a high priority when they’re choosing professional partners.
2. Save Money in the Long Run
It can be difficult to quantify just how much money you’ll save by digitizing documents without looking at your specific receipts, but let’s put it this way: Printer ink is more expensive than nice champagne.
You don’t feel justified in buying Dom Pérignon every couple of weeks because of the cost, so why do you feel comfortable spending twice as much on printer ink when there is a better (digital) alternative?
Take a look at how much you’re spending on printer ink and paper. Then consider how much space you could save when you get rid of your cave of filing cabinets. Maybe that space could store more useful items or even become new desk space.
The long-run savings of going digital are definitely something to consider before you immediately reject the idea of revamping your business practices.
3. Better Document Management Processes
When all of your documents are hardcopy, you can’t just CTRL+F to find the right one. If it isn’t in the right place when you’re looking for it, you’re going to have to ask around or dig through other cabinets looking for the file. That’s just time you could be saving.
It can be so easy to misplace hardcopy documents or for someone on the team to accidentally horde some files for a few weeks. Making everything digital means everyone has access to the files and they can find them much more quickly.
4. Mobile Access to Documents
Say you’re offsite at a business meeting, and on your way in—oh no!—you accidentally drop all of your papers. Everything is in disarray, and it’ll take 30 minutes to get everything in order again.
If you had digital documents, this wouldn’t even be a problem, because you could access any document you could possibly need on the go. Forgot a document? Not a problem—just pull it up from the digital folder.
You and your team can achieve the peace of mind that only comes when you have instant and constant access to your digitized documents.
5. Easier Communication and Collaboration
How many times have you been working on a document with the rest of your team, and half of them are working off an old document? Maybe they haven’t checked their email for the latest version yet, or they don’t realize the versions they saved to their desktop is outdated.
With a fully digitized documentation system, it can make it easier on your team to share the latest updates and collaboration more efficiently on projects.
Go Paperless with Paper Free Office Solutions
The advantages of a paperless office clearly outweigh the disadvantages. It might be a challenge at first, but IMS is here to help you through it. Our custom paperless solutions from scanning and document management to shredding and cloud storage will help simplify the process and protect your information every step of the way.