According to the Wall Street Journal, up to 1.6 trillion pieces of paper are produced by American companies every single year. Now, that is environmental footprint in monumental proportions. The truth of the matter is that paper-based offices have been with us from time immemorial. And though the term was coined and popularized more than a decade ago, not many people imagined they would live to see the end of the printing era.
A paperless office is one of the most revolutionary transformations in the office working environment. While the concept heralded the demise of jobs, we cannot deny the fact that such a radical transformation is disruptive in nature.
Where Did the Concept Originate From?
The phrase ‘’paperless office’’ is most popular among members of the post-millennium generation. However, the concept goes way back. In the early 1960s, this term was mainly a slogan used by PR companies to describe the futuristic office. The name was further popularized during the advent of earlier generation computer terminals such as the 1964 IBM 2260. But at this time, it remained a futuristic concept that would probably be realized in another century.
However, an article published in a 1975 edition of Business Weekly added more hype to the already popular idea. Industry leaders at the time tried to envisage how offices would run without the need for large and bulky printing hardware. The main inspiration behind popularizing the paper-free office concept was the need to eliminate routine document production and record-keeping tasks.
A few years later, a milestone was achieved in the form of personal computers. Learn more about personal computer on TechoPedia.PCs made it easier to digitize quite a few office tasks. But there was still much work to be done. As a matter of fact, the idea of a paperless office almost died with the upgrade of printing and photocopying machines. New printers and photocopiers were reengineered to reproduce documents in bulk. This saw the use of paper in offices double between the years of 1980 and 2000. It took the effort of environmental conservationist groups to sound an alarm. Landfills were getting choked with paper junk. In the corporate quarters, there was also a silent discourse on the viability of a paper-based office. It emerged that it was not only costly to reproduce paper documents, but even more challenging to manage them.
Millennials were also generally more inclined to reading documents on interactive screens as opposed to having them in paper. There was a need for a paradigm shift. Though very few offices can claim to be paper-free, there has been a massive reduction in paper use from the dawn of the new millennium.
So, why is the paperless office finally on its way? Read on for an insightful view.
You do not need to be an economist to understand the cost implications of going paperless. Any business out there is formed with the primary objective of making profits. Besides, any idea that guarantees maximum revenue at minimum expenditure is attractive. Well, a paperless office happens to be one of these attractive ideas.
With paper-based offices, you have to incur lots of extra and unnecessary expenses. Some of these include leasing or procuring printing machines, along with hiring staff that operates the machines. Fortunately, these are now a thing of the past. The need for a printer, photocopier, fax machine, and other printing hardware has been replaced by document-sharing software which are both easier and cheaper to maintain. Plus, you will no longer need the human resource to manage your paper documents. All these adjustments mean more revenue to your company and fewer expenses.
Time is the greatest resource, often equated with money. Therefore, it implies that a second saved is a cent earned. The paperless office technology was designed to help business people better save their time.
According to File Center, many offices spend up to two hours every day managing their files. That translates to one-quarter of your business hours. Obviously, this reflected negatively on the overall productivity of most office workers. There was a need to enhance such productivity by ensuring better time management. That’s one of the reasons why many businesses will embrace the concept of a paperless office.
With this concept, you will also save the time you would otherwise waste trying to round up your staff for routine briefings. Instead, you can schedule these meetings and then automatically initiate them virtually. All you need to do is choose the right software. Among the things to consider are sound and video clarity, as well as the ability to share and store documents. Software like Skype are already changing the landscape in terms of facilitating virtual office meetings.
As we mentioned above, paper-based offices contribute to significant environmental footprint. The damage they cause in the long run varies depending on the degradability of the paper waste. While most papers are recyclable, there is a significant proportion that is non-biodegradable. Such are the kinds that end up choking our landfills as well as adding to the level of carbon footprint. Worse yet, paper is primarily obtained from trees. That means that each time you buy a rim or roll of printing papers, a tree somewhere paid the ultimate price. A rise in demand for paper directly translates to deforestation. This is especially true in developing countries where the population is not very aware of the effects on the environment.
As you may expect, these are not things that sit well with environmental conservationists and similar advocacy groups. The environment stands to gain tremendously from the paperless office concept. Office workers will now carry on with their mandates without the nagging concern of where to dispose of their paper wastes. Besides. even in offices where some print material may still linger, it will not be significant enough to cause any palatable environmental damage.
Productivity at your place of work does not reflect only in extra revenue to the company or hefty paychecks on your part. Instead, productivity is also determined by the harmony in the office environment. Paperwork accounts for more than half of all the clutter in your office. When they are not strewn all over the place, they are recklessly tucked away in office shelves.
To restore order and enhance efficiency in your office, you will need to hire an extra pair of hands. Well, you need not to, when you can convert all your print material into digital files and folders. With a paperless office, there will be less paper junk to dispose of. This means fewer expenses incurred. Besides, your office cabinets and shelves will hold fewer documents. You can then choose to redesign them, lease them or sell them off. As a result, you create more space for new staff and more valuable office equipment.
The concept of a paperless office has been a long time coming. Luckily, it is now with us, and its benefits are already being felt far and wide. Whether you are a business owner or office employer, there are numerous ways to benefit from this ingenious concept. Feel free to follow filecenterdms.com for more insights on what you stand to gain by going paperless.