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Paperless Offices: Myth or Reality?
Many offices use far more paper than most people would imagine. But that doesn’t mean that going paperless is an unrealistic myth that isn’t worth shooting for.
There is a common misconception that offices around the nation are only storing documents on hard drives or a cloud server instead of having them printed out on a regular basis. However, a quick look at recent paperless office statistics would serve as a wake-up call for any business owner who is serious about reducing or eliminating the use of paper in the office altogether.
What the Stats Say
Recent stats show that the average office worker produces more than 10,000 sheets of paper every year. Paper makes up about 70% of the waste generated by offices and nearly three out of every four businesses are “quite or extremely reliant” on paper materials. About half of all business transactions involve checks and well over 40% of all companies use paper in the office every single day.
In total, businesses use about 21 million tons of paper every single year. In the United States alone the amount of office paper thrown out every year could build a twelve-foot wall from Los Angeles, California, to New York City, New York.
Why is it So Hard to go Paperless?
There are certainly plenty of alternatives to paper in today’s modern world. Online payment systems such as PayPal could easily take the place of paper checks. Cloud servers make it possible to store documents securely, eliminating the need to print out reams of paperwork on a regular basis. Even so, there are some genuine obstacles to going paperless.
- Some companies simply can’t go 100% paperless. In some industries, certain documents must be printed out and there is no way around it.
- Printing is often a matter of personal preference or habit. Stats show that more than one in four employees prefers reading a paper document to reading a file on a computer.
- Many employees feel that printing is no big deal even if documents will be thrown out later because their workplace recycles paper products.
Is Going Paperless Worth It?
While many companies still print tens of thousands of pages every single year, the truth is that there are many advantages to going paperless.
- Going paperless will save a company a lot of money. Instead of investing in paper, printers, ink, photocopy machines, and scanners, a company could save the cash or use it for other, more important expenses. Furthermore, a company that does not print and store paper documents won’t need to invest in secure storage for these documents.
- Storing documents on the cloud allow for files to be found with ease and read from any location. Secure online storage also makes it possible for employees or business owners to work remotely as needed.
- It takes far less time to simply save or send an online file than it would to print the file out and make photocopies of it.
- Cloud storage can often be secured more efficiently than paper storage facilities.
- Going paperless will help the environment. Nearly 400 gallons of oil are used to manufacture a single ton of paper. Sadly, only 65.8% of all paper products in the United States are recycled.
A business owner who wants to save money, boost office efficiency and avoid security breaches will find that going paperless is a great way to achieve these goals. Naturally, it’s not something that can be done overnight. It will take time to find a secure cloud server and train employees to avoid printing documents unless absolutely necessary. It may also be necessary to work with a professional IT company that can ensure the stored documents remain secure yet accessible at all times.
William Ives Consulting specializes in online document management The company works with the best document management providers to provide cutting edge solutions that can be customized to meet any company’s needs and budget. Get in touch today to learn how to transform an average office into an efficient, eco-friendly one.