Since the late 20th century, digital technology has gradually and seamlessly integrated into our lives. With few exceptions, we’ve made the switch from analogue to digital. Digital documents have replaced paper documents and notebooks, emails have replaced mail and faxes, online media and e-books have replaced newspapers and books – the list of examples goes on and on.
So why, when our lives depend so much on technology, do our offices still rely so heavily on paper?
Our offices today are a far cry from the ‘paperless office’ – a coin termed over 40 years ago in an article by Business Week, predicting that ‘by 1990, most record-handling will be electronic.’ Instead, over the next 20 years, global paper consumption doubled, and in today’s offices, it is estimated that each employee still uses 10 000 sheets of paper annually.
While we’re well behind on the predicted deadline of the paperless office, companies have been making strides towards it. If you’re still not convinced, the following 6 reasons should sway your thoughts.
1. Increase productivity with an efficient workplace
Think about the last time you went in search for an important document. How long did it take to search through physical archives to find it? That’s assuming they weren’t misplaced to begin with. Depending on the size of your archives, this task can be long and tedious – especially so for financial and legal services where mandatory retention schedules can stretch for decades.
Digitising records, when done correctly, optimises document retrieval by increasing search functions. Documents can be sorted and indexed, with access only a few clicks away. This means the time spent filing, organising and searching for documents can be spent towards more productive tasks.
2. Minimise your carbon footprint
It’s a no-brainer that a reduction of paper usage is more environmentally friendly. From deforestation to the pollution produced in the manufacturing process, to the associated use of other consumables like ink – the accumulated environmental impact is huge. Take into consideration that of the 10 000 sheets per employee, it is estimated the 6800 sheets is wastage and disposed of within hours of printing, and a paperless office begins to make more and more sense.
3. Reduce in-house storage cost and space
There are the obvious costs involved with paper printing and storage such as purchasing realms, printers, scanners, fax machines, and other office supplies such as ink and toner. However, many businesses don’t consider the costs involved with storing and retrieving paper documents. Accumulating archives over time means the storage space required will also increase over time. Costs can very quickly add up when you consider that office space in a prime London location comes at a premium. Digitising documents will reduce the overall space and cost of archiving physical documents.
4. Increase accessibility
Digitising workplaces often means that the storage of documents and archives utilises cloud-based software allowing access from anywhere. With traditional workplaces giving way to hot-desking and working remotely, increased accessibility is an added benefit.
Not only can documents be accessed anywhere, but a cloud-based system also allows for multiple users to access documents at the same time which is particularly useful for client meetings, and collaborative teamwork.
5. Keep your documents safe
Privacy and confidentiality has always been a priority, but with GDPR coming into effect earlier this year, document security has become paramount. Historically, there has been some scepticism surrounding security with digital storage. However, digitising the office gives companies more control over its documents. Companies can decide who gets access, the level of access they receive (e.g. read-only, editing), and create digital audit trails. Compare this to traditional paper archiving, where multiple documents are stored in the same filing cabinet with one key, and giving access to one document often allows access to the whole cabinet.
Cloud-based systems also allow for multiple backup points, as opposed to physical documents that are vulnerable to flooding, fires and other such events.
With all of this in mind, going paperless may be beginning to sound attractive. However, perhaps the resistance or failure to create a paperless office isn’t so much in becoming convinced, but in the practicalities of making it a reality. Put simply, it can like an overwhelming task.
And that’s where we have a bonus reason for going paperless, which might be the best one of all.
6. Low cost and ease of transition
Secure Data can easily assist with the transition to a paperless office by offering a range of scanning services that are suitable for any business. Scanning and digitising documents have become a key component in the record management service we offer, a sign of keeping with the times. Our scanning facility is used to dealing with high volumes of documents including confidential and sensitive data.
So, all that needs to happen now to turn a 40-year-old dream of a paperless office into reality, is for you to contact us to discuss your needs and get a quote – simple!