With the advancement of technology, rapid growth has been witnessed in the world of internet and software services. So, with this fast growth in technology, paperless offices are slowly replacing the old paper-based system. Using the paperless system can be a suitable option rather than using the paper-based system which is more costly and time-consuming. But in a paperless office, issues like acceptance of technology, training of the personnel and establishment of the security system can arise.
Another option is to move to the paperless office gradually by reducing the amount of paper being used instead of totally eliminating it. In this article, we have listed the pros and cons of a paperless office.
Pros of Paperless Office:
Although the advantages of paperless offices are countless here we have listed a few to give you an overview:
Reduction in carbon footprint:
One of the biggest advantages of the paperless office is that along with the environment, it also helps to improve the overall office operations. We can make our earth a better place to live in by reducing the cutting of forests for the sake of paper production and can significantly reduce pollution created by the countless handwritten and printed documents. These actions will lead to conserving of the living space of both flora and fauna while decreasing the probability of an employee losing or misplacing an important document that contains any important or confidential information.
2) Easy Access to the documents:
The documents stored on different computers can be easily accessed by the workers in the organization by using any cloud-based service. Several users can get access to the document at the same time. Hence, time can be saved.
The paperless office will not only help to perform the tasks efficiently but will also help to eliminate all the problems related to the paper-based system. Employees of the same organizations can have access to all the documents in electronic form without leaving their desks. Moreover, different enterprises can share the documents with each other through secure mailing systems or networks.
3) Easy to Store:
In digital document management system, all the documents can be stored in one place and can easily be sent to those who require it. The benefit of shifting to a paperless system is that a huge amount of data can be stored without wasting any paper or ink. This gives the benefit of bringing the office upkeep down with the reduction of paper, cartridge and ink costs. The document files can be stored in PDF format which further reduces the size of the files and hence more storage capacity can be created on the servers. Users who deal with spreadsheets on daily basis an also convert Excel to PDF files. In this way, a paperless office can help in optimizing the workplace system and to keep the environment clean.
4) Automatic Auditing:
In the past few years, the rules related to the compliance have become very strict due to which keeping record of official documents is a priority for every organization. Digital document management system helps in maintaining an audit trail by automatically generating a unique number for every document. Documents can be stored on the local server or cloud easily for as many years as required by the company. Changes can also be made to the documents while keeping the original document compatible with the audit guidelines.
One of the benefits of the paperless office is that it makes the workplace well organized and extremely efficient. The searching of the documents is much easier and faster as compared to the traditional paper-based system. Hence, the required files and even text can be searched easily which results in an optimized working environment.
Many of the business processes can be simplified by using the paperless system. For example, if a user has the authority then data can be transferred simply by pressing few buttons. It also helps in simplifying the cumbersome process of ordering goods and manual authorization of invoices.
7) Business Development and Returns:
As stated earlier, the paperless system saves a lot of time; hence it can help the executives to use that time in improving the business processes and developing new strategies that will lead to more productive outcomes.
Moreover, a digital management system does not require too much cost for its implementation. This system is quite cost effective and usually, after the investment, returns can be gained in the period of half year.
The electronic files in the paperless office system are stored on either local servers or the cloud. These servers are secure in nature therefore only those people can access the files that have been authorized. Moreover, individual files can also be secured by password protecting of the PDF documents. Later on, if the user wants the document in some new format other than pdf, they can use different PDF converters available online for the conversion.
Disadvantages of paperless office:
1) Dependence on technology:
One of the major disadvantages of the paperless office is that the people at workplace get very dependent on technology. For example, if any of the systems containing the important files shut down then the employees cannot access the files unless and until they have a backup of all the files. But realistically that is not always the case. Secondly, if employees are using the cloud services for document sharing and the internet offered at the workplace goes down then they won’t be able to view the files or to save any changes till the connection is up again.
2) Health problems:
Sitting in front of the desk 24/7 can take a toll on one’s health especially if the workplace environment is not ergonomic in nature. For example, looking at the screen from a wrong angle or in bad lighting can cause eyesight to weaken; bad sitting posture can cause severe nerve issues and continuous typing on a non-ergo keyboard can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
In a paperless office environment, the digital services are dependent on electricity from the national grid that includes devices like laptops, desktop computers, tablets, and servers, etc. all consume electricity which in turn starts the cycle of the energy-inefficient system.
Before adopting any technology, the pros and cons of that system must be read very carefully. In this article, we have listed the good and bad of the paperless office and how organizations should introduce it gradually.