Going paperless — Why is it important for businesses

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If I have to name humankind’s greatest inventions, paper will most probably top the list. After all, one cannot ignore its historical significance and the instrumental role it has played in our development.

However, with recent advancements in technology, a paperless future is not a far-off dream. Here are a few reasons why ditching paper can be a good idea:

1) A “time-saving” investment

We all are familiar with the old idiom, Time is money,” and going paperless is a great idea to save some. Using paper for your everyday business has many hassles. Lots of time goes into arranging, filling the information, storing, and retrieval.

Extra time is lost when a document is lost, and one has to spend their invaluable time rummaging through a pile to look for it. It also causes a chain effect delaying other processes in line.

Finding a lost item takes up to 10 minutes per day. While 10 minutes may not seem much, but it’s not feasible when you look at a bigger picture.

If you have 100 employees working for you and each employee spends up to 10 minutes per day looking for a lost item, it leads to 1000 minutes of wasted activity or approximately 16.7 hours per day. Take a week into account, and you have around 100 hours of lost time. Just imagine, all this time, just going into rummaging for all those lost documents.

Going paperless saves all these precious hours, which can be redirected to lead your business on increased productivity. One can use a document management system that helps in the systematic handling of your data. Combine this with any OCR software (Microsoft OneNote, Readiris, Abbyy FineReader, Hosted IRISXtract) to arrange and manage the scanned handwritten documents that become a seamless experience.

The earlier information, which would have taken a difficult search, could now be easily retrieved with just a simple click. It dramatically lightens the burden on your employee’s shoulders, leading to less work stress and increased efficiency at work.

2) A step towards better organization

Haven’t you ever felt hopeless looking at the mountain of documents on your desk waiting to be sorted or the cramped cabinets that give you a headache as you look for a space to fit your document? Don’t worry. You are not the one to blame.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, if you stack up all the paper that the US’s businesses produce, it will reach nearly halfway up to the moon, a height nearly 18,000 times as high as Mt. Everest. Isn’t that phenomenal?

Businesses worldwide have to deal with this immense amount of paper that takes up a lot of physical space and makes data retrieval difficult and tedious. Going through all those filled cabinets, dusty storage boxes, or rummaging through all those piles on your desk leads to only one outcome — a slowdown in your proceedings.

Also, lots of physical space is wasted, giving off a shoddy and unorganized look to your office space.

Another issue apart from space is the limited accessibility. If, due to an unprecedented emergency, like adverse weather conditions, a sudden pandemic (emergence of COVID-19 has clearly shown us that possibility like this, so it can’t be ignored anymore), or an accident at the workplace, employees are unable to access their work and documents.

So, what can be done?

The one-step solution to improve accessibility as well as save up some office space is going paperless. Digitizing data and using cloud technology for its storage ensures that you have 24*7 access worldwide. This brings several additional advantages:

  • It creates flexible working hours for your employees as they can even access it from their homes.
  • Opens door to “work from home” opportunities for skilled personnel who cannot physically access office or live in different states or even different countries.
  • It creates a more extensive customer base as the client’s data can be uploaded and accessed from anywhere.
  • Saving maintenance costs on your workplace as more and more employees can work from their homes eliminates the need to have a large workplace.

3) Saving the “right paper”

When you go paperless, you are saving the paper that goes around your office, and also the one that goes into your pocket. Yep, you guessed it right. I am talking about money.

An average office employee uses around 10,000 sheets of paper per year, which costs around 500$.

Take the labor cost, postage cost, cost for maintaining the inks and cartridges for printing, maintenance of fax and printer, and finally, physical management of all these documents. The numbers are shocking. Also, what about the cost incurring whenever a precious file is lost?

Going paperless saves up not only those costs but also helps in saving money indirectly in these following ways:

  • Saves time of the employer and employee.
  • Saves maintenance costs in the workplace.
  • Allows organized arrangement of data that helps in better handling, leading to increased productivity.

It can also lead to higher productivity as the digitalization of data allows you to use AI for automation of many tasks giving you the edge over the traditional methods.

If you consider all the above factors, you will discover that going paperless indeed gives excellent benefits.

4) Keeping information safe

Another benefit of going paperless is better security and confidentiality of your documents. When a piece of information is stored on paper, there is a higher chance of it getting stolen or damaged. Paper is vulnerable to various environmental factors such as fire, water, and can get easily damaged.

If the paper in question is destroyed, then the information lost is practically impossible to recover.

Also, accessing and copying information from a paper is quite easy. This makes keeping confidential data on a paper quite a risky venture.

Going paperless saves you from all these troubles. With rapid data encryption advancements, even though the systems storing your data are compromised, no one can access your files without the proper authorization.

And since digital data takes up less space (a small server room is enough to store years worth of documents), instead of having security personnel guarding a whole complex housing in case of physical papers, security can be focused on much smaller premises. It allows for efficient guarding and reduced cost of investment in security.

The risk of accidental loss is also minimized as backups are readily available for restoring. Usage of the cloud allows you to minimize the data loss as they provide various features such as internal firewalls, encryption, intrusion detection, and physical security to servers hosting cloud. All this ensures that your precious data remains safe and well protected.

5) And finally, saving the environment

Have you ever thought about how many trees are cut down to make just one sheet of paper, or about the detrimental effect of inks from cartridges on the environment?

Manufacturing of paper produces various ill effects on nature, such as global warming, deforestation, and increased carbon dioxide levels. Approximately 80,000 to 160,000 trees are cut down every day, of which a significant amount is used in the paper industry. For every 1 ton of paper, 24 trees are cut down for production. In 2017, the annual production of paper stood at around 417.43 million metric tons.

Imagine all those life-giving trees getting cut down for paper production; going paperless saves our Mother Earth from this needless destruction.

Even a 1 Megabyte of data is equivalent to 75 pages of information. With the availability of high storage devices, going paperless is the best gift we can give to our Mother Earth. Ink and their cartridges also contain various heavy metal compounds that contaminate the environment. Also, a significant amount of oil is used for their production, which depletes our natural resources.

Going paperless is a great solution to save our Mother Earth and safeguard its resources.

Conclusion

Increased productivity, better return on investment, more efficiency, and a chance to save Mother Nature- these are some of the perks of going paperless. Go paperless — save data on the cloudprotect the environment — increase profit.

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