• Amelia Curic

Paperless – and proud of it!

Why are people who work in paperless offices so proud of it? Are such offices really better than those using paper?


“No need to renew the PO Box: we don’t send or receive letters any more” 

“Change our subscription to your journal, we’ll get it online”

“What’s a fax machine? We stopped using it YEARS ago!”

"No need to print emails, our cloud storage has a great search engine"


Let’s look at why organisations choose to get all their documents scanned and stored in digital format:


Faster access to information

With the right set-up, documents can be accessed using a few keystrokes on your computer. This might not save much time compared to opening a folder that sits on a shelf above your desk, but is going to be much faster than physically visiting a department on a different floor to look at it. We all benefit from the incidental exercise but it’s certainly more efficient to be able to view, modify and share documents in their digital form than in paper format.  What might’ve taken 20 minutes can now be done in less than two.


Saves space and money

Converting processes from hard copy to a digital format can save enormous amounts of storage space. That space can then be re-purposed for more staff, for meeting rooms etc. Or, if enough space is cleared across the whole organisation, planning can start for occupying a smaller, less expensive office. 


Risk management

Paper versions of documents are vulnerable to several threats, including fire, mould, theft and just simply becoming physically lost. If managed properly, the electronic versions of documents are a lot safer. Especially when there’s a prudent approach which includes backups and offsite storage of external hard drives, password protection, keyword searching or even document management systems such as Microsoft 365 or TRIM (Total Record Information Management), which allow staff to categorise levels of access, so that security is kept at appropriate levels.


Environmentally friendly

With all of us becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of our actions, reducing reliance on paper is a step many organisations will want to take. This can be done incrementally, too: “paper lite” is a step along the way to paperless. Some organisations will insert reminders at the foot of emails to remind staff that printing them may not be necessary. Others will set up printers to automatically print double-sided. And many will want to include reduction in paper consumption in annual reports and other documents where they describe their socially responsible initiatives.


Yes, those working in paperless offices might be unbearably smug. But given the speed, space-saving  and security they now enjoy, we think they may be right!


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