Whether it’s to boost your business’ green credentials or cut costs, going paperless is not always what it’s made out to be.
On the surface it appears to be a great solution for a business; reduced spending on ink or toner, no need to upgrade the printer and the environment will get a break from the wasted paper being thrown away.
However, there are some dangers that come with moving to a paperless office and we’re going to delve a little deeper into why paperless isn’t always the best option.
One of the biggest flaws to a paperless-world is the security risks that come with it. With more and more industries turning to technology to make things more convenient for consumers – online banking and online shopping for example – it’s an appealing world for hackers wanting to steal vital information, both business and personal. One way a business can protect itself and the people involved is to invest in high-security measures to stop hackers from potentially getting any information.
This is dangerous both from a data breach point of view and a financial stance. If the business has decided to go paperless to save money, you may see a greater loss than if it were to keep using paper. Then when it comes to handling any confidential information, you will need to ensure the highest security measures are in place.
Great security isn’t cheap, but it is essential. You will need to have measures in place which can encrypt and secure data, as well as having something which can back it up and a place to store it. The desktop on your laptop just won’t cut it. While with a printer, you can simply print off any important documents and file them away in a locked cabinet.
The essential hard copy
Hard copies are vital. Technology has come along leaps and bounds and can help businesses thrive in areas they’d never imagined before. But all great things have an Achilles heel, and technology’s Achilles is itself. A corrupt update, a power cut, a poor connection – all of these can cause a malfunction and wipe out documents and whole systems.
While a paperless society seems much simpler, hard copies are the best form of backup. Invest in a high-quality printer which can be connected via a cable or wi-fi, you can then reduce printer spending by investing in compatible ink or toner rather than branded.
Invest in training
Training is a big part of any industry. Whether it’s training on a job or a new piece of software, it’s vital to ensure everyone knows what to do and how something works. However, training is a big cost to a business – not only to pay for training, but also in time. Being out on training for a day means a day of not doing any work for clients.
Time, time, more time
One misconception is that a paperless world is a quicker and more efficient world, which is true in some areas; including paying via card or contactless. But when working with documents, if you are already looking to be more paperless, you will need to check all of your documents and make digital copies before they are disposed of. Digitising can be a very time-consuming process of scanning and digitally filing documents, so be prepared to lose valuable work time.
Hire an IT team
When technology plays an important role in your business, other than the basic software on a computer, you will need to look at hiring or outsourcing an IT team. This will mean more overheads and further outgoings for the business.
This can sometimes get overlooked, but a digital-only environment will require employees to stare at screens for much longer during the day. Breaks to read documents on paper, or to get up and walk to the printer allow employees to take recommended screen breaks, as well as moving around from the desk.
“We’re only human”. A common phrase when something goes awry, because human error is a very common mishap. When it comes to going paperless, there will be more pressure on employees to make very few mistakes.
Filing a document in the wrong place, or under the wrong name could cause many issues – let alone if a file is deleted or saved over for good, disappearing swiftly into the abyss. This is where your investment in training will come in handy, but you should still be prepared for errors to occur; we’re only human after all.
Paperless does have its place in society and some industries could make the transition, but it’s not as straightforward as getting rid of the trusty office printer and calling yourself ‘paperless’. There are great risks and challenges to be faced. Approach with caution and be sure you’ve weighed up all of the benefits.