The world produces 300 million tons of paper every year. That’s an astonishing figure considering the advancements in technology specifically designed to help achieve a paperless business.
The paperless movement has been rumbling on for quite some time and is a significant term in the business world.
In this blog, we’ll look at:
- What does the term paperless mean?
- What are the benefits of going paperless?
- How to achieve a paperless business
What does paperless mean?
Exactly what it says on the tin…paper-less. The dictionary describes it as ‘Not requiring paper because of the use of computers and other electronic media to record, convey, and store information.’
With the advances in technology over the past few decades, more and more information is being stored, recorded and shared digitally, making way for the emergence of the paperless concept.
Gone are the days of basements full of paper files or doctor notes and even the huge office printers are in less demand as documentation, files and records shift to a digital format.
Obtaining the title of ‘paperless’ takes planning and perseverance as it can involve quite a change for businesses and their people. It usually means a change of systems, processes and the introduction of new behaviours and ways of working.
For the environmentally conscious, the move to a more digitally savvy workplace couldn’t come soon enough. With the average office worker using 10,000 sheets of paper each year (equating to 4.48 trees), the impacts are being felt worldwide.
As the more recent generations have become acutely aware of the impacts of deforestation on our environment, the call for paperless businesses has become more of a collective roar.
What are the benefits of having a paperless business?
The demands of the 21st century and advancements in technology have seen many businesses embark on a digital transformation and paperless journey of some kind.
While some businesses remain reliant on paper-based processes, the dream of a workplace devoid of paper is certainly becoming more of a realisation.
And while the environmentally conscious individuals shed light on the responsibility of companies to reduce their use of paper, there’s also many other benefits to companies wishing to take the paperless route.
Here’s just a few benefits of having a paperless business:
1. Saves money
Let’s start with a key driver, and there’s quite a few ways that going paperless can save a business money.
Having a paperless office allows your business to minimise costs of equipment such as printers and scanners, and a technician every time it breaks, as well as office supplies such as paper, ink, toner, paper clips, staplers and folders.
Paperless businesses require less floor space to store all their files, so they save costs on rent. In an office, the average amount of floor space taken up by paper is 15.3%. That extra 15% of floor space could allow a business to downsize their rented space or add more desks and hire more employees.
And then there’s the resource-related savings as time consuming paper-based processes are replaced by more efficient and easier digital processes. Businesses get a greater return on investment (ROI) on hours spent performing more tasks than they would doing paper-based processes.
2. Increased productivity in a paperless business
Having a paperless business makes it easier for business to move faster. How much time do your employees spend searching through paper files, printing documents for a meeting or completing paper forms with customers?
What could have taken hours using paper, can now take minutes with digital processes giving you more time in your day to focus on other tasks. And time is money, right?
For example, searching for a customer’s paper-based record in boxes and boxes of files can be done in minutes using a digital filing system. You can even save time on your ‘reliable’ paper to-do list, which has to be written and updated, by having a digital ‘to do’ which automatically updates and even sends you reminders.
All of this frees up time to work more productively and efficiently.
3. Better collaboration and communication
It’s fair to say that the way we collaborate and communicate with colleagues has changed dramatically over the past 15 months.
Ok, so we’re well past telegrams and carrier pigeons, but if you weren’t on email or using the features of platforms such as Microsoft 365, the past year will have taken its toll.
It’s estimated that by 2023, roughly half the world’s populations will be using email (4.3 billion) so investing in Outlook, would be a sensible investment.
Digital technology such as Microsoft 365 have paved the way for businesses to operate globally and even attract employees from all over the world.
Moving to Microsoft 365 will allow your business and its people to operate from anywhere at any time meaning they are set up for the new hybrid way of working.
4. Improved business processes
Create smarter, more streamlined business processes that free up time for both your people and your customers.
Going digital will not only save time, it will make the process more secure and transparent. Paper forms moving between different departments and even offices can easily be lost or even subject to data theft.
Having these forms available to complete online not only makes it safer, it makes it much quicker and means customers can complete them whenever they want. It’s also guaranteed to land in the right hands with clever automated processes working in the background.
5. Helping the environment in a paperless business
Over 30 million acres of forest are destroyed annually with 40% of commercially cut timber being used for the production of paper. There’s no doubting that the paper industry plays a role in deforestation and the endangerment to some species who lives in the forests.
As well as helping the environment, being a paperless business will help to attract people who share the same values as they do. Studies have shown that employees are far more likely to choose a company with sustainable practices, including those who care for the environment.
By going digital, automating processes and vowing to do all you can to eliminate as many paper-based processes as possible, we can help turn the tide on deforestation. The technology is out there, we just need to use it.
Changing Social has recently launched their Please Use Less Paper (PULP) challenge. The competition is an opportunity for businesses to say goodbye to tedious, time-consuming, inefficient paper-based processes and hello to productive and effective automation (all while helping to save the environment!).
They’ve helped some of the largest brands on the planet to change the way they work and solve some really challenging business problems using the Microsoft Power Platform.
And they want to help you! All you have to do is send in your paper-based approval process and for a chance to win a free tailored Power Automate training for you and your organisation.
You can read more about the competition, or enter below:
Do you want to save time, money, improve business productivity as well as helping the environment? Do you want to swap some of those limited paper-based processes for a more streamlined, secure and efficient way of working? Then get in touch. With years of expertise and experience, we provide tailored automation solution to your business problems. Contact us at [email protected] for a chat.