People have talked about the paperless office for years; yet with recent figures suggesting only one per cent have achieved this, it raises the question of why.
We are seemingly going through a digital revolution. Everything in some way is done online; the NHS are making plans to move all their records online; marketing is done digitally; tickets for events are sold and presented digitally so you don’t have to worry about printing them off; banking can be done online; and most communication is done by some form of medium. Face it, when was the last time you wrote a letter - birthday cards don’t count.
It appears that everything is moving online and this is more efficient for businesses. Having access to everything so easily and being able to bank and sort out issues digitally is more convenient. It saves so much time and effort and is really useful. That is the way our society is moving so why then is the paperless office not taking off as well as other mediums?
One of the main reasons businesses haven’t jumped onboard is because they don’t fully understand the concept – a paperless office doesn’t mean completely getting rid of paper; if this is what your statistics are based on, you’ll never achieve it. The paperless office is about using less paper and taking digital initiatives to reduce your paper load. Things you do that might class you as having a paperless office can include scanning documents, storing documents online, doing presentations rather than printing documents off for everyone, and emailing documents, including digital signatures.
Your business probably uses some of these methods already because they are more convenient. It is not understood that you don’t have to have no paper in your office to go paperless; efforts to use less paper should be counted in statistics too.
Many businesses don’t know the legalities for their business documents. There are government regulations preventing you getting rid of every document and paper record on file, however, these regulations only cover a small proportion of documents. Businesses need to research what they can get rid of and what they need to keep. This education will help get rid of the fear of going ‘paperless’. A thought that might help you understand this concept – the NHS are planning to move their records online. If it is possible for them to make this huge step, then offices everywhere don’t have to worry.
Another thing that needs to be understood is that a ‘paperless’ office won’t happen overnight. It takes time and as said before, most businesses will never go completely paperless. You need to educate your staff as to what they can do and what it means for them. There are many benefits for moving your office online and nothing seems a greater advantage than easy access and increased efficiency.
When we look at figures that suggest a paperless office hasn’t taken off or might not even be possible, we have to be wary. Most people make adjustments to make their life easier, things that they don’t consider as going paperless. However, motions like using cloud storages is actually just as important to record as shredding half of your filing cabinet. Look at the example of marketing; most people have moved their marketing methods online – sending email promotions is just as noteworthy as SEO but because they might also have shop displays or go to exhibition events, they don’t consider themselves to be digital marketers. Just because you still have paper, doesn’t mean you haven’t gone paperless; it actually means quite the contrary.
Written by Chelsea Potter from Cleardata. Cleardata have many years experience of helping businesses with document management solutions and record storage.