One of the most common problems businesses face is using too much paper. Keep reading to learn more about this problem and what you can do to mitigate it.
If you look around the office right now, you'll probably see lots of paper lying around - invoices, notes, etc. Paper can slow things down. It can take minutes to locate a file from a filing cabinet, unless someone else has the file. It's easier to find information paperless.
Sometimes it's nice to have a paper copy of something for reference, but by going paperless you can help the environment while saving time.
Symantec revealed that 49% of respondents think that information is 49% of the organization's value. How much of your organization is placed in a hard to find, share and use paper documents?
A PricewaterhouseCoopers study revealed that 7.5% of documents are lost and another 3.5% are misfiled. In the span of a year, 1 out of 10 paper documents go missing and have to be recreated. Plus, if you need to comply with any regulations, those documents that go missing can be a compliance issue as well.
More research finds that there are many ways that a company can benefit from taking away paper:
- 2/3 of companies who are adopting paper free processes say they see a payback within 18 months. 50% are able to see a payback in less than 1 year.
- Respondents felt that taking paper out of the process would be able to improve the productivity of process staff by about 30%. For those who understand document management and capture technology, the number rose approx. 5%.
- Customer service would be able to improve. Removing paper would improve response speed to customers, staff, etc. by a factor of 4.
Document management and capture tools can help digitize documents. This places them in a secure, easy to access place. So, instead of rummaging through filing cabinets, your computer, or email for the latest version, you can find the information you need to access faster.
What can you do to mitigate using so much paper:
- Move to a cloud option (ex, Dropbox, Google Docs)
- Print documents double sided
- Change bills to be paperless. Pay bills online or by phone
- Save online receipts in a folder on the computer
- Use paper from recycling bins or notes/reuse one-sided paper
- Buy recycled paper if you need paper
- Be frugal with newspaper subscriptions/magazine subscriptions - many have online versions
- Think before printing - do you really need to print it?
- If you only need a page from a long document, only print that page
- When printing from an online page, copy and paste the text into a Word document so it is formatted right for printing
- Proofread before printing
- Use print preview
- Adjust margins
- Editing and collaboration can be done through Word
- Use email rather than paper mail
- Use a USB stick to move and share documents
- Use a whiteboard for lists, notes, and announcements
Feel free to use the section below to list other ways you use to limit paper usage. We hope that this blog post has helped you see the benefits of going paperless.
Harak, Ben. (2010). 31 Ways to Reduce Paper Usage. Retrieved April 2, 2019 from, https://www.visionofearth.org/live-green/31-ways-to-reduce-paper-usage/
Studebaker, Kirk. (2017). The 5 Most Common IT Problems Your Company Faces. Retrieved April 2, 2019 from, https://www.coordinated.com/blog/5-common-it-problems