An office is like a machine. Oftentimes, we think it has to have several key components in order to run smoothly: a front-end that manages and a back-end that organizes. It has to have a certain amount of people doing a certain amount of tasks to be effective. It has to have a busy front desk and an efficient filing system that keeps client files safe and in check — but what if we turned that notion on its head? What if we imagine new offices instead of creating them the way they’ve always been run?
Enter the paperless office.
The paperless office is not a new trend by any means. In fact, many businesses may now conduct a similar scanning-only, paper-free agenda in their offices without even realizing it. However, there’s something to be said for consciously going paper-free. According to Sycle, the average cost to file a piece of paper is $120, while the average cost to file a digital document is $20. Over time, that $120 can multiply depending on how many employees do the filing and how many papers needs to be put away.
But the benefits of a paperless office don’t just extend to your bottom line. They can also have a profound effect on the environment. Let’s take a deeper look into the eco-friendly benefits of a paperless office.
Save Money on Supplies
How much money do you spend a year ordering office supplies? Maybe you run a small business and you’re lucky to have it in the hundreds. But maybe you’re an established law or medical practice and you spend thousands a year on paper and all its essentials. We don’t often think about the countless staplers, binders, sticky notes, or pens we have to buy every month to sustain our office culture, but it adds up. According to LAC Group, an office can spend roughly $200 yearly per employee on office supplies. And if it’s a corporation, that amount multiplies to roughly $1000 per employee every year. That’s money your company can put towards other avenues, like marketing or payroll. In this case, pursuing an eco-friendly, paperless office isn’t just a matter of doing your part for the environment; it’s also about putting more of your money back in your pocket.
No More Lost Documents
Ever put away a file and had no idea where to find it later? Maybe it has important client or patient information that you can’t afford to lose, or maybe it was critical to an upcoming meeting. Regardless, we trust our filing systems to have what we need when we need it, but sometimes, accidents happen. However, with a top-tier document scanning system, the chances of a file getting lost or misplaced decreases significantly. Digital files are kept in a secure database that’s only available to those employees or clients who have approved access. You’ll know where your files are at all times and won’t have to reprint pages upon pages of documents that have been misplaced.
Reduces Carbon Footprint
According to a study linked on Eco-Officiency, the average US office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Statistics show that if US companies and corporations cut just 10% of paper use a year, that would be enough to get rid of 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases, which is the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road yearly. When the numbers are stacked up that way, the benefits to an office with no paper really add up.
Better Customer Service
A huge benefit to a paperless office is faster communication. When the majority of your business’ external communications are being sent out electronically, the guaranteed response time is much faster than sending out communications via paper mail. Faster communication is an easier way to develop a stronger customer service procedure. Clients will be able to contact you much easier, whether it’s through email or social media, and you’ll be able to stay on top of their concerns much faster. It’s just one way a paperless office can help improve and streamline your office’s productivity.
More Space = More Hires?
When you work in a physical office, almost nothing is more expensive than your real estate. Did you know that a standard 4-drawer file cabinet can take up to 15 sq. ft. of office space? This doesn’t include the amount of space for a person to comfortably open drawers and maneuver their way around. If you’re paying $50 per sq. ft. of office space, as is the average, then it’s costing you $750 a month to file your documents, and that doesn’t include the cost to print them or execute security measures. 15.3% of the average office is taken up by paper, whether it’s related to a filing cabinet, storage closet, or a printer. While $750 monthly is nowhere near an average salary, the extra space and money could go towards new hires, existing professional development, or better department training.
What benefits of a paperless office appeal to you the most? And which ones have your office already implemented? How has the change served you?
Check out this infographic from PDF Pro that highlights just how going paperless can benefit your office.