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6 Benefits of a Paperless Office

by Tam

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

The benefits of going paperless include saving space, time, and money, contributing to a greener world, attracting top talent, and improving security.

What Is a Paperless Office?

As the name suggests, a paperless or paper-free office is a workplace that eliminates or at least severely minimizes the use of physical documents such as paper receipts, bills, and memos. Consequently, you won’t find typical office devices such as scanners, printers, and shredders or typical office supplies such as binders, hole punches, and paperclips in a paperless office.

Now you know what a paperless office is, it’s time to dig into the benefits of a paperless office. But before you do, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to go paperless in the office.

One Advantage of a Paperless Workplace Is That Electronic Documents Free up Office Space

As mentioned earlier, you won’t find typical office devices or typical office supplies in a paperless office. They’re simply not necessary. What will you find, then? Clean, minimalist workspaces. And a whole lot of space. Yep, when you get rid of (or at least cut down on) paper, all that other office stuff can go, too.

Just imagine the things you could do with all that space! You could add a monitor or two. You could keep a pretty potted plant next to those monitors. And since you won’t need that under-desk cabinet to file away paper documents anymore, you could even add a small treadmill or some other type of office-friendly exercise machine to your setup.

Working From Home? A Paperless Home Office Gives You Back Your Living Space

If your kitchen or diningroom table or some other part of your home is currently doubling as your workspace, going paperless will be even more beneficial to you than at the office: Without piles of paper, folders, and other traditional office materials strewn about your living space, you won’t feel like your work life is encroaching upon your private life.

A Paperless Office Is a Money Saver, Too

We already covered that typical office devices such as scanners, printers, and shredders or typical office supplies such as binders, hole punches, and paperclips are unnecessary in a paperless office. And making do without these items doesn’t just save space, it saves a lot of money, too.

But what about the paper itself? Sure, you can buy 2,500 sheets of copy paper at Walmart for under $20. And at less than a dollar a pad, your colorful sticky notes habit isn’t likely to break the bank, either. But in the long run, going paperless will equate to major savings: On average, every office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year—that’s half a million sheets of paper in a 50-year career!

Increased Efficiency Is Another Benefit of Going Paperless at the Office

Unlike paper documents, digital documents are easy to store in such a way that employees can find and access them again in a matter of seconds. For instance, let’s say you’ve just digitized a paper invoice you received from a partner by scanning it using the Smallpdf Mobile App. Now, you can simply rename the file so it includes the date of receipt and the name of the business that you received it from (and any other markers you find relevant). This will make your document searchable, helping employees find it far more quickly than its physical counterpart.

Speaking of the Smallpdf Mobile App, digital documents are available on all of your devices, be it a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet or phablet, or a smartphone. This makes your documents instantly accessible to all of your employees, even those who work remotely or who travel frequently, again saving you lots of time and hassle.

There Are Also Environmental Benefits of Going Paperless

Embracing a paperless workplace benefits the environment in several ways: First off, trees grow slowly, produce less paper than you might expect, and cost a great deal of energy to convert into paper—not to mention the energy it takes to ship that paper to your local Office Depot, OfficeMax, or other office supplies store. Additionally, left to live, a tree will capture an average of one ton or 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide throughout its lifetime.

An Eco-Friendly Office Promotes Employer Branding

An added benefit of going paperless and thus becoming more environmentally responsible is that greener companies are perceived as more desirable employers, especially in the eyes of younger workers. Studies have shown that the millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 1996, take companies’ social and environmental commitments into consideration when deciding where to work, won’t join a company that doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values, and are more likely to feel fulfilled and thus to be loyal to an employer when provided opportunities to make a positive impact socially and environmentally.

A Paperless Work Environment Provides Access To Global Markets and Talent

Speaking of attracting employees, another of the many benefits of a paperless office is that your teams can be fully distributed. This means that for any open position, you can hire the very best applicant—regardless of whether that applicant does or doesn’t live in the city or even the country where your business is located. After all, as we said earlier, digital documents can easily and instantly be found and accessed by employees anywhere, at any time, using any device.

Similarly, going paperless facilitates working with international customers and partners. For instance, if you provide a service such as web design, you can switch to digital creative briefs and invoices, making your services available to customers from virtually anywhere. You can also use these digital documents to outsource parts of a full-service solution to other specialists, no matter where they are in the world.

Last but Not Least, a Paperless Office Can Increase Security

Paper documents are subject to a host of threats, such as being:

  • misplaced/lost/incorrectly filed
  • thrown away by accident
  • stolen
  • destroyed by a fire, flood, or improper storage (temperature, humidity, etc.)

What’s more, paper documents can easily fall into the wrong hands, even unintentionally. For instance, an employee may simply forget to file a paper document away, revealing potentially sensitive information to anyone who happens to walk by that employee’s desk.

Switching to a paperless office with digital documents eliminates all of these risks. Additionally, when you use digital documents, you can store them on encrypted servers and in various locations so that there’s essentially no way they could accidentally get lost or destroyed. Also, you can fully control which employees should have full, limited, or no access at all to a digital document.

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Tam
Sr. Content Strategist