Transitioning to a paperless office has obvious environmental benefits. But the advantages go far beyond saving forests and the furry creatures that live in them. Going paperless also means big savings for businesses.
Here are 7 benefits of going paperless at the office
Reduce storage and paper costs
Easy to use and access
Streamline employee workflows
Speed up approval processes
Make your office more secure
Printing, faxing (wait, does anyone still fax?), and storing documents takes up time and space. Between printer ink, paper costs, and file cabinets, it quickly adds up.
In the U.S. alone, companies spend more than $120 billion a year printing out forms. Most are out of date within a few months.
If you switch to online forms through a tool like JotForm, you not only get rid of the need for printing, but you also end up with a platform that’s much easier to update. Just share the e-form, and anyone can quickly update their information, whether the form is embedded in a landing page or sent via email, social media, or text message.
Finding, organizing, and storing paper takes time, energy, and effort. These low-value, often urgent tasks take bandwidth from more strategic, important work.
With so many cloud-based document management software programs, including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box, it’s never been easier to go paperless. Plus, you can access the information you need anywhere, at any time.
In addition to ease of use, paperless workflows are more efficient.
You don’t have to worry about paper forms being out of date, someone spilling coffee on an important document, or having to mail or fax things by a certain date.
For example, if you run a home repair business, you can store all of your documents in Google Drive, have customers request appointments through a JotForm signup form, and send SMS text appointment reminders via Zapier. And you can do all of this without having to print out a single piece of paper.
Another advantage of switching to paperless processes is faster approval times.
Consider signing contracts and agreements. Instead of having to print out the document, mail it, and then wait for the other party to sign it and mail it back to you, you can just send an online digital form with a signature field, and you’re done.
Another benefit is faster expense reporting. Instead of going through a shoebox of receipts, you can simply take a photo of the receipt and upload it to Expensify.
If you work with proprietary information or handle sensitive customer data, working with electronic documents is not only easier but 10 times safer than paper files.
Here are a few ways paper documents can be viewed, lost, or stolen:
- Someone leaves a confidential document at the printer or copier. The average office document gets copied 19 times. The odds of that document ending up in the wrong hands is significant.
- A document is destroyed because of a coffee spill, the office pet, or some other mishap.
- A disaster occurs. According to this article, more than 70 percent of businesses would have to shut their doors if they lost all of their paper records in an office fire or flood.
Run backups more often
Running backups of your important documents should be standard protocol. It’s much easier to do this in a paperless office. Using tools like Backblaze, you can configure automatic backups at regular intervals (i.e., every week or month) to ensure you don’t lose an important document.
At minimum, you should back up all financial and tax documents on a regular basis.
Get paid faster
Whether you run a bakery, an electronics store, or a marketing agency, getting paid electronically, be it from a credit card or an online invoice, is a lot more convenient than being paid in cash or through a check. With checks and cash, you have to store the money securely onsite and go to the bank on a regular basis.
This not only adds an extra step to your process but storing lots of money, even in a safe in your physical headquarters, creates added security vulnerabilities (i.e., robberies, burglaries, etc.).
These are seven of the biggest benefits of switching to a paperless office. Depending on your company and goals, you can probably find even more advantages.