In the summer of 2006, our office began the process of going paperless. We are glad we took the plunge and have been pleased with the many benefits of having done so. In the hopes of inspiring others to go paperless, here are what we consider the top ten reasons to go paperless.
1. Go Green — Environmentally the right thing to do. Saves paper reducing the firm’s environmental impact. Saves gas when employees work from home.
2. Increase document access – More than one person can view the same document at the same time. With appropriate hardware and software, documents can be securely accessed from anywhere without the assistance of someone at the office.
3. Reduce paper handling — In a paperless office, a physical document is generally handled only once – when it is scanned.
4. Eliminate lost document searches — Searching for misplaced or misfiled paper documents can be a lengthy exercise in frustration even for the most organized office. Such searches can be a thing of the past if going paperless also means the implementation of a mandatory naming and storage system or, if you can afford it, software that controls how documents are named and stored. In addition, free or low cost electronic searching software can help locate a document quickly based on key information.
5. Reduce printing and copying costs – With multiple monitors at each desk (essential when going paperless), no need to print documents for reference as several can be viewed side-by-side – work on one while referring to another.
6. Benefit the bottom line — Productivity and efficiency are increased leading to reduced staffing costs or increased work throughput or both.
7. Improve disaster preparedness – Improves security for documents due to better backup systems including off-site backups (absolutely essential in the paperless office) resulting in copies being available even if disaster strikes the main office.
8. Cut storage costs — Dramatically reduces file storage costs as fewer filing cabinets are needed and less physical space is required for cabinets.
9. Improve staff retention – With the flexibility to work from home, the paperless office allows stay-at-home moms, for example, to continue working while avoiding childcare costs.
10. Reduce office space and travel costs — The ability for staff to work away from home reduces the demand for office space and reduces the employee’s costs in getting to and from the workplace.