Paper, paper, paper. It haunts you everywhere. It's stuffed in your handbag, car door, kitchen drawers, and it's all over the office.
Workplaces spend so much time shuffling it, printing on it and posting it. But it doesn't have to be this way. Going paperless has so many benefits from cost, security, to time-saving and environmental that it's a wonder why more workplaces are slow at adopting the way forward.
Paper is still everywhere, but why?
Businesses have been using paper for a long, long time and will, of course, feel reluctant to simply put it all in the shredder. There are also some other factors that come into play when it comes to workplaces using paper documents.
- It's familiar - If it 'ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The familiarity of using paper pays a massive part in workplaces that still use it. They know it works (most of the time), there is nothing that needs to be taught when it comes to working with it, and it's tactile. From a young age, you are taught to use paper for writing, drawing etc. so it is something that is entrenched in every one of us.
- Universally acceptable - Everyone knows what paper is, they know how to work with it and how to use it.
- Government regulations - If your local government has regulations around keeping specific documents, you have no choice but to keep them. However there are more and more changes happening to accept digital documents, and it may just be the case that something you thought needed to be on paper may be acceptable in digital form. The NSW Government have recently introduced an online rental bond system, and will also no longer accept fax from 2016.
- Cost - On the surface, it can seem like paper is cheap and easy to handle. However, once you factor in costs associated with toner, printer costs, storage and people time, it's actually pretty expensive.
Benefits of being paper free
While it's difficult to think that you could ever go paperless, the benefits do stack up (virtually). As the next generation enters the workforce, they will bring with them new ideas and practices, which will no doubt include a 0% paper tolerance.
- Speedy Communication - The postal system isn't known for its speed (or accuracy). By sending documents online, it cuts out days of waiting and ensures your message gets to the recipient.
- Easily accessible - Through the use of online document storage, you can access your important information remotely, and also find files easily through intuitive search functionality. You are no longer tied to your desk, and colleagues can also access documents when they need to. Forget fights around the filing cabinet for the same document or swearing over a lost document.
- Automatic backup - If you're in a hurry or not thinking and you accidentally throw out a paper document, you're saying bye-bye to that piece of information forever. However online backups ensure your document is stored in various locations, making it harder to accidentally lose or throw out important information.
- Financial benefits - With Australia Post announcing that they will be increasing their postage fees, and the costs of printing, toner, people hours the financial benefits of going paperless are clear. The space you will save in the office when filing cabinets are removed and bulky printers are gone is also an added benefit!
- Secure storage - Your documents with sensitive information such as client addresses, payment information etc. are no longer under threat of break-ins, floods and fire. Most online systems have bank grade security systems to ensure your data is safe and stored out of harm's way.