How paper-based processes hurt office productivity

If your office is full of filing cabinets and paper forms, then paper processes are likely slowing down your business. Digitizing your processes can streamline your workflow, and it’s much more convenient than dealing with paper copies of forms and documents.

If you’re not yet convinced that going paperless is right for your business, consider the following paper-based processes that might be harming your productivity. How many of these does your business use? If you’re ready to go digital, Jotform offers convenient solutions for each of these processes.

Purchase order requests

Completing purchase order requests by hand can lead to all sorts of problems, including inaccurately recorded quantities and even missing orders. If a business then requires an employee to input purchase order requests into a computer to complete an order, it’s unnecessarily doubling the workload.

Jotform’s purchase order approval templates allow your business to receive requests digitally. You can view all the form data in Jotform Tables, or even integrate forms with Google Sheets or Airtable, to create an organized, accurate spreadsheet of all purchase orders. The process of filling those orders will be faster, more accurate, and more organized.

Employee onboarding

Onboarding a single employee can involve dozens of forms, and taking the time to digitize and scan paper forms means more work for an HR department. Plus, presenting a new employee with a stack of forms doesn’t make for the smoothest or most impressive onboarding process.

Using digital documents is not only easier, but it produces a more professional onboarding process. Jotform’s human resources form templates collect everything from employee information to job applications. Your HR department will save time and be better organized, and the templates will make it easier for your team to ensure all forms are complete and accurate.


The days of paper marketing forms are over — now, your audience expects your marketing materials to be available online. From customer surveys to lead generation forms, your audience will want (and appreciate) the ability to complete these forms online. When you digitize your forms, you’ll be better able to reach a wider audience, and you’ll likely enjoy a greater form completion rate as well.

Jotform offers a wide array of marketing forms that are fully customizable. You can process, track, and analyze your form data in Jotform Tables. Since your team won’t have to perform extensive data entry, you’ll be working with more accurate data — and you’ll streamline your workflow.

Customer service documentation

Customer service teams also deal with processes that can be cumbersome when done by hand. Whether collecting customer data and call details or completing product registrations, much of this information is highly detailed, and errors can be costly.

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Digitizing these business processes offers many benefits, including more accurate document management. Jotform’s customer service templates already include options for some of the most common customer service processes, including call center forms, feedback forms, and information request forms. 

By digitally collecting form information, you can easily assign form follow-ups to appropriate team members, ensuring a quality and streamlined customer service process.

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The problems with paper-based processes

If you’re still relying on paper-based processes, chances are you’re facing several problems that come with this type of record-keeping and information-gathering. Paper-based processes are prone to error. It’s all too easy to misplace paper, which makes it challenging to keep accurate records.

Paper records are also difficult to share, especially if multiple team members need access to the information that they contain. The result is lots of photocopying and, often, slower processing. If you’re using paper invoices or order forms, you might be significantly slowing down your business.

When your business relies on hard copies, you’ll quickly start to face storage and organizational issues. Paper can take up a lot of space, and if you ever experience a fire, you could lose those records entirely. Don’t forget that the paper and ink you use can drive up costs, too, whereas adopting a digital approach can streamline your processes and save you money.

Alternatives to paper-based processes

Taking your paper-based processes digital can have many benefits for your business. In addition to saving your employees a lot of time, you can increase the accuracy of the data you collect. 

Digitizing documents also allows you to automate more processes, allowing your employees to focus on less repetitive tasks that require a human touch. This can lead to an improved customer experience, a better employee onboarding process, a more professional operation and appearance, and more.

The process of going digital doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Jotform templates are already available for a wide assortment of common paper processes. Working with a template saves you the time of creating a document from scratch, and the templates are customizable, so you can create the exact document that you need. 

While the process of editing and customizing those initial digital documents might take some time, your business will save plenty of time down the line once you’ve digitized and streamlined your processes. 

A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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