That’s a good thing, for several reasons – four of which can be seen below:
While the cost of a pack of A4 paper might not exactly be extortionate, it soon builds up into the cost of a new employee or a vehicle.
A small business might go through 2-3 packs a month; if each one costs around £2.50, that equates to £90 a year. That’s just the paper, and doesn’t include the costs of ink, maintenance and power supply for your printers, and then envelopes and stamps for posting items. If this cost is multiplied across several offices around the world, we’re looking at tens of thousands of pounds per year. The latter is also time consuming, of course.
If you’re of a certain age, you might have worked in an office with small rooms and giant filing cabinets; workplaces where you worked cheek by jowl with others, and there was a constant risk of tripping over paperwork. This writer worked in a newspaper office where clippings were stored by an official librarian; he had a fairly archaic system to classify the paperwork, and upon his passing no one could decode it.
Conversely, digitally stored files are easy to retrieve, and easily ordered by the programme being used to store them. Download computed that 1TB of storage can hold roughly a third of a million photographs; now try storing those in your office, at A4 size. It’s simpler and cleaner for employees to simply use a tablet to view files, at their desks or in meetings.
While there may be concerns about security around internet hacking and exploitation and files, look at the problems with printouts and paper documents. Have you noticed how periodically, a government minister will leave important documents on a train somewhere, or exposes a confidential file just long enough for a photographer to zoom in?
If the files are contained on a hard drive, in an office or remotely, the chances of vital documents going astray is far lower. If your website is administered by a third party or VPS reseller you also gain an extra level of security, meaning that you don’t even have to keep an eye on your online activity.
For many companies this will be the most important reason to go paperless; costs, security and space are important, but this is the one that affects our future across the world. The good news is that many companies quickly realised that it would also be good PR to move to a more sustainable model, and started recycling or reforesting to attempt to limit the mass deforestation across the world.
According to the Guardian recycling one tonne of paper will produce enough energy to power a home for nine months. More companies are doing this worldwide, from the SME to the giant corporations, and you should do your bit too.
There are plenty of ways to begin to achieve a paperless office; Forbes suggests some of the platforms you might consider here.