For the last decade or more, the concept of the paperless account, the paperless office, and the paperless personal administration system have been growing in popularity and feasibility. Now, with more focus than ever before on cutting out needless waste – and a world in which digitization is increasingly seen as a one-way ticket to screen-based systems – it’s time to drop paper once and for all. In this article, you’ll learn six of the key reasons why you should go paperless as we approach and enter 2021.
Sign of the Times
It’s been one of the most unprecedented and challenging years in living memory. Hundreds of millions of people have been struggling to access the services that they’d usually visit in their local town center, or through physical branches and postal services. The result has been that many of these services – like banks, elderly support groups, and charities – have moved online for good. The same phenomenon has been taking place across the business world, with companies using the COVID-19 crisis to move online and cut out their paper waste.
So, even if you’re not a believer in the “If you can’t beat them, join them” epitaph, you should probably consider the reasons why organizations and businesses have been more than happy to move online in 2020. They’ve been aware that consumers are familiar and comfortable in the digital world – and that the future is certainly digital, not paper-based. The sooner you embrace the digital world, then, the sooner you’ll also embrace the future.
Paper waste is one of the highest-volume forms of waste in the world. Until relatively recently, every firm in the world had filing cabinets full of paper – paper printed out from machines that noted everything from stock figures to emailed agreements to simple HR department missives. It’s possible that these letters and papers number in the billions in each large firm. It represents a simply colossal waste.
As you’ll know, paper is derived from the pulp of certain types of trees, which are cut down to service our addiction to paper. The sooner we can cut out needless paper use, you’d have thought, the more trees we’ll be able to save. Environmental consciousness is very in vogue in the modern day, too, and being green by saving on paper demand is regarded as a certain good in an uncertain world.
When you have to use paper for a number of your processes, there’s an obvious sense of physical waste. But there’s also a less obvious, but similarly staggering monetary waste in the use of paper. Let’s say you’re printing off 1,000 pages of employee earnings over the last year (something that was certainly done with regularity across the world until recently). That process involves the purchase of the paper, the purchase and replacement of printer ink, the processing for the documents for printing, and the electricity required to print all of the documents.
If your company is likely to go through many thousands of these print outs a year, you clearly have quite a large expense stacking up over time. Instead, going paperless means that you can format and save all of these documents on your own business servers, or even on the cloud – which means that there’s no need to manifest them physically.
There are also big reasons to go paperless when it comes to the back office and the way in which you furnish your staff with amazing software solutions that can help them to perform their jobs better, and without paper. A great example comes in the form of HR software that prevents your HR team from having to manually use paper-based systems to track employee shift patterns and overtime. Time and expense software removes the requirement to use paper for this process – and makes this whole procedure a whole lot easier for an HR professional.
Across your whole business, imagine the time savings that could take place if you were to simply digitize all of your processes in this way. No longer would you have to wait for hours by the fax machine and printer – no longer would you require signatures and counter-signatures and rewrites and photocopies – it’d all be dealt with online instead.
The other gigantic and relevant argument against paper is the simple fact that paper-based systems are horrendously inefficient. If you’re using a paper filing system, you’ll know full well that it’ll take you upwards of 15 minutes to find a single file – and that’s if it’s filed correctly in all of your cabinets. If it’s not, you may as well not run a filing system in the first place – finding it will really be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Compare this colossal struggle to the need to find a document on a computer. You can search through all of the documents on a computer in seconds in order to locate the folder in which the document you seek is stored. You remove that 15-minute search. And you’re unlikely to ever lose a document – especially if you run a policy of double-saving your work across the cloud and a physical drive.
Loss and Damage
Finally, the way in which we store data is changing for the better, in that it’s far more difficult to corrupt or damage data that is stored in the cloud. When we speak of physical documents, we’re speaking of items that just won’t stand the test of time. They’re highly flammable, they’re destroyed in damp or wet conditions, and they’ll blow away with the slightest breeze. They are non-permanent.
On the other hand, and in contrast, digital documents are recognized as incredibly durable, and that they cannot be broken unless they are deleted permanently. Even physical corruption of a computer won’t impact digital documents if they’re stored on the cloud. That’s the beauty of going paperless in the coming year: the permanence of your records.
There you have it: a remarkable list of the six reasons why you really should choose to go paperless in the coming year – saving hassle, stress, time, and money – as well as the environment.