Switching to a paperless office may sound like a good idea to many businesses because of the positive environmental impact.
Much of the promotion of digital practices like electronic document management and online forms focus on the more sustainable nature of these options. However, businesses can also promote going paperless and market the nature-friendly choices these companies have made.
The most significant, but sometimes overlooked, benefit of a paperless office for business owners is likely the savings on employee time and supply spending that are created when files and forms are made and used electronically. Workers can spend significantly less time trying to find important files and more time actually working with the information in them. This ease of access also leads to financial benefits, as printers are used far less frequently or removed entirely from work spaces and purchasing of supplies decreases greatly.
The price of paper adds up quickly
App developer GoCanvas points out that a staggering 10,000 sheets of paper are used by the average U.S. office employee in a year. In some paper-heavy industries, like accounting, this number can be even higher. This could mean that a business with just 15 staff members who have desk jobs is spending $2,400 on just blank paper each year, not accounting for printing, storage or various other financial obligations. The cost of employee time spend trying to locate a single document inside of a large stack of filing cabinets or finding a lost hard copy are also significant.
Filing cabinets in and of themselves cost a significant amount of money – hundreds of dollars for basic models that allow little in the way of protection from fires and floods. Growing businesses either need to constantly sort and dispose of old, unneeded documents or continue purchasing new storage for their growing paper requirements.
Going paperless should be approached not just from an environmental responsibility perspective, but from a financial one as well. The New York Times says that businesses have a variety of options when it comes to making the switch, from picking a date and fully ceasing printing to a more gradual approach. Organizations that want to make the change should seek out a provider that can help them move through the process and realize a successful digital conversion of their offices.