Going Paperless In Your Agency
“The ‘paperless office’ is a bad idea because paper is one of the most useful and valuable media ever invented. ‘On paper’ is a good place for information you want to use; a bad place for information you want to store”.
David Gelernter, a professor at Yale University has a way with words. And he’s right. Throughout time, humans have been impervious to change even at an individual level. When you bring a business into the picture, featuring people as a collective working together, change is an even harder pill to swallow.
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Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest through the trees, but the outcome is worth it if you are interested in saving money, increasing efficiency, creating a flexible work environment, and saving some of those trees. The phrase “going paperless” may have business owners cringing, because they automatically think of all that could go wrong with relying on technology to perform the filing, storing, and creating tasks that paper has been capable of doing while they’ve been in business. Paper is familiar and a comfortable medium to use for many. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, am I right? Well, sure, but the grass may also be greener on the other side...especially if you save some trees.
Technology is forever changing and disrupting the way we do business and connect with others. Making the transition from file cabinets to the digital cloud is a big leap and one that will take some adjusting to, but in the end, will be more beneficial to the success of your business. Here are five reasons your business should “go paperless”.
1. Hug a Tree Today
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average office goes through 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Reducing paper usage from just one office would provide an environmental benefit the equivalent of a 0.75-acre pine forest absorbing carbon for one year.
The process of making the paper you use in the office is even wasteful. To produce paper, large amounts of water, bleaching agents, and fossil fuels are used. Cutting down on the paper also means cutting down on these aspects as well. Next to saving some trees, you will also save on energy costs when you no longer are continuously printing and copying paper with machines throughout the day.
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2. Save Your Money
Perhaps the biggest bonus of going paperless is going to be cutting costs. Money is typically the biggest influence on decision making for business. More than just reducing spending on paper itself, you will also reduce spending on printer ink, toner, postage, and file storage.
According to the EPA, a paperless office saves an average of nearly $80 per employee annually. All of these expenses add up, especially when you have an office full of printing-happy employees. Consider if you have a business of 50 employees, that price would be around $4,000 a year on paper and printing accessories.
3. Filing Cabinets are Not Attractive
That one piece of paper laying on your desk may not seem like a big concern, but the tens of thousands hiding away in bulky file cabinets around the office definitely are. Businesses acquire a mass amount of paper files over the years of doing business. Where else to put them but in office boxes and file cabinets, right? Wrong. This solution may seem reasonable. The paper is neatly put away and out of sight. You can see the cabinets, so you know it’s safe. But the reality is those file cabinets take up so much space and set your office back decades.
If file safety is a concern and main reason for keeping the cabinets, think again. What happens if a fire breaks out or those paper are lost or stolen? Have you backed them up to an online drive or the cloud? Doing away with the file cabinets and boxes will save your office so much space you probably didn’t realize you had hiding behind all that storage. You may even have the opportunity to open up a storage room for more office space or a meeting room.
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4. Stay Productive
How much time a day do you spend dealing with that office printer that never seems to do what you need it to do or the copy machine? Do you spend your time standing in front of a file cabinet searching for a document to find you’re looking in the wrong cabinet? These tasks can take up a lot of your work day and slow you down.
Wouldn’t it be easier to simply push a couple buttons on your keyboard (Ctrl + F) to search thousands of documents in a matter of seconds? You’ll be reading that document faster than you can say “file cabinet” when your files are stored in the cloud. Sure, this may take a bit of time to learn, but the research shows that paperless storage will increase productivity and functionality in the office.
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Consider a situation where you are away for a business meeting in a whole different city or state and you realized you forgot to bring some documents that you’ll need at the meeting. If you didn’t make a copy and bring them with you, how else can you function away from the office? The answer is the cloud. With a cloud account and file manager, employees can log in and access work documents from anywhere away from the office as long as they have access to the Internet.
The flexibility the cloud offers will make a big difference in the way your employees are able to do work. Whether they are needing to work from home or on a trip, the work doesn’t always have to wait until they’re back in the office to get done.
6 . *BONUS ROUND* Your Files Are More Secure
This is the number 1 misconception when it comes to moving your business to paperless. Storing documents in the cloud is safer than keeping sensitive files in an office. Digital documents are encrypted and protected by numerous layers of security, and access can be restricted to only a few individuals.
Furthermore, digital files don't run the risk of getting lost due to theft or fire, which are occasional occurrences for small businesses.
Here at Omega we understand that going paperless is a big jump and that security is your number one priority. Don't hesitate to give us a call or email us questions. We will gladly answer any issues you have.
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