The Paperless Office: Why it’s Good for the Environment and your Business

For a long time now, businesses across the country have been discovering the benefits of the paperless office. The concept was slow to catch on initially, but as the benefits have now become well-known, businesses are looking for ways to get rid of the humble paper page once and for all. And we couldn’t be happier.

If you’ve never heard of it before, the idea is simple. Instead of using paper in your office, you use digital forms and documents instead. Not a shred of paper in sight (except for the occasional post-it note). The paperless office concept comes with a lot of very attractive benefits for business owners – it can help streamline processes, improve customer service and even make your employees more productive. It’s also got some pretty good environmental effects too, which can help your business achieve its green pledge and help save the planet. 

The Environmental Benefits

It’s fair to say that using paper in an office environment is a pretty significant drain on our environmental resources. Natural resources are being consumed far faster than we can recreate them, thanks in part to the huge demand for paper and paper-based processes. More trees are cut down every year than are planted, and forests are still disappearing at an alarming rate. Then we come to the actual making of paper, which is a chemical-heavy process. Even recycling paper leaves a significant amount of waste, which then finds its way into rivers and oceans, polluting the planet. But if businesses moved to a paperless office system, this impact can be lessened or even reversed in some cases.

How Much Paper Does the Average Office Use?

You might think, given the abundance of technology out there, that the paperless office is here already. But you couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the average office in the UK uses around 830 pieces of paper a month. This adds up to £12,000 worth of paper per employee, and almost 10,000 sheets of paper every year ーper employee. However, businesses that are using tools like document automation to handle their paperwork can reduce that number by at least 60%. These tools create big savings in resources, as well as a significant reduction in environmental strain. Imagine the impact if every business could reduce their paper use by just 60%.

How Will Ditching Paper Help My Business?

Ditching paper in your business might not sound like a big change, but it can have some significant knock-on effects. For example, the efficiency of your employees will skyrocket now that they don’t have to spend time filling in forms, duplicating information and manually feeding that information into the digital systems. Departments can easily manage and track their workloads collaboratively. Documents can easily be sent to the appropriate individuals (instead of doing the rounds) and be tracked along the way.

It also has the potential to save you a small fortune in time and money. By switching to digital documentation, businesses can significantly reduce the time spent printing and handling documentation. This digital pathway can also reduce the cost of paper and its associated costs (like ink and storage space). In addition, going paperless can save a lot in terms of billable hours. Not only that, but the visibility of electronic documents leaves clear and accurate audit trails for every single document, which are all stored in a central database ready for review and access at any time. This simple change means that businesses who have to work within strict compliance and legal regulations can keep track of their adherence, minimise the risk of lost documents and guarantee higher levels of data security than those who are using paper.

The Technology Is Out There

One of the common myths of the paperless office is that the technology isn’t there and ready to support it yet. But this isn’t the case. The components of the paperless office have actually been around for quite a while and are readily available if you know what to look for. It’s never been simpler for businesses to convert their paper into digital documents. Using new apps and workflow tools are also beneficial as these almost completely eliminate the need to print anything new. Combine digital documentation with tools such as digital signatures, high level encryption software (for security) and automated workflows. Your business can run on a whole new level of futuristic efficiency!

Making the decision to change the way your office works can be difficult. It can also unearth a lot of other issues that you hadn’t even realised were problems yet! If you’re looking into the paperless office route but don’t know where to start, then consider bringing in a professional to help.

At Indigo IT, we work with you to figure out what processes you need to create a paperless office. We then put the technical systems in place to make it possible. We have a lot of experience in this area, and we’d love to help you on your way to a more efficient, environmentally friendly office. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch with the team at Indigo IT today to book your free consultation.