Businesses are the largest users of papers and this is taking a heavy toll on the forests and other natural resources. The paper production process consumes a lot of wood and water, besides generating effluents which are harmful for the environment. One of the best ways a business can become environmentally-friendly is to minimize the use of paper in the workplace. Going paperless is one of the essential features of an eco-friendly office. The conversion of paper files into electronic documents is a key step in the journey towards a paperless office. But what is a paperless office and how can it benefit your organization? Read on to know more:
What is a Paperless Office?
A paper-free office uses the lowest amount of paper and relies heavily on digital documents, thus drastically reducing the use of paper in workplace. But going paperless is not a magic wand and requires careful planning, organization and employee participation. The right set of tools and proper employee training is required to realise the dream of a paperless office.
In addition to being eco-friendly, a paper-free office should also provide tangible benefits in order to motivate the office staff. Saving time and efforts through easier filing and document retrieval system is an important step in eliminating paper from the workplace. Another notable step is to replace individual printers with a centralized network printer to track paper usage and restrict the purchase of ink and toners.
The digital filing system is the heart of a paperless office. Digitizing your documentation like using an absence management software, for instance, will not only help in easy document filing but also aid in smooth and fast retrieval. Infact, a cloud-based document management system will enable employees to access important documents off-site, besides safe storage of documents.
Benefits of Going Paperless
Going paperless has numerous benefits for both the business owner and the employees, ranging from saving time and money to boosting security. It is important to analyse the use of paper in the workplace from an individual level upto the organizational level.
Let us analyse the major advantages of a paperless workplace:
1. Saves Time and Space
The filing, organizing and retrieval of paper documents is a time-taking process. Having an electronic filing system will enable file management to be done at the click of a mouse, thus helping business owners to assign employees to more productive and revenue-generating tasks.
Finding ample office space for the filing cabinets is a nightmare for many business owners as the files keeps piling up with each passing year. In particular, the problem is serious for industries having a long document retention time, such as government departments and financial sector.
A digital document management system allows you to store the documents in a cloud-based server with negligible physical footprint.
2. Saves Business Expenses
A paper-free office will reduce the business costs incurred on paper, printers, toners, files, filing cabinets and office space. Studies have shown that a paperless office has a better process efficiency and can handle a larger volume of documentation than traditional offices, thus making a significant savings in employee time with respect to repetitive tasks like expense reimbursements.
3. Protects the Environment
The production of paper and related products leads to the emissions of greenhouse gases, causes deforestation and precipitates climate change. Paper recycling can reduce the environmental impact of paper in the workplace, but only upto to a certain extent. Employees may engage in group activities, like making paper bags from waste papers, to know the importance of waste reduction at work stations.
In the absence of source segregation, most of the paper ends up in landfills or waste-to-energy plant. In addition, toxic chemicals in inks and toners are detrimental to the health of the environment. The most sustainable solution to all these environmental problems is to transform your workplace into a paperless one.
4. Improves Security
A chronic problem in traditional offices is the hardship in tracking paper-based documents on account of misfiling, accidents etc. Moreover, it is difficult to monitor the access, printing and copying of sensitive business documents. A paperless office has a digital document management system with advanced security features to prevent such incidents by restricting access rights at different levels.
How to Tackle Stress in a Paperless Office?
A paperless office may create stress among employees due to increased exposure to technology. Static work postures may also lead to musco-skeletal health issues. An excellent solution to relieve stress is to use art therapy. But, what is art therapy?
Art therapy is a type of therapy that enriches the life of a person through art-making activities , such as drawing, painting, collage or sculpting. It helps in developing self-awareness, boosting self-esteem, trauma-coping and fostering social skills, under the guidance of a qualified therapist.
A paper-free office will not only save time, natural resources and money but also help in smoother and safer flow of information in an organization, thus helping in quick decision-making and responsible business growth.