How to Sustainably Shift Into A Paperless Office

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Paperless Office EM360

Shifting to a sustainably paperless office is the first step for any company looking to accelerate its digital transformation journey. 

According to a report by, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, which quickly adds up when you multiply that by the number of employees in every office worldwide. 

All that paper costs $8000 for the US enterprise each year, only for 45 per cent of it to become obsolete and end up at the bottom of the office bin the following day.

It’s not surprising that so many companies around the world fancy the idea of going paperless. Not only does it cut costs, but it also greatly increases workplace productivity and security. 

But shifting to a paperless office is not an easy task. There are a number of considerations your enterprise should consider to ensure its digital transformation journey is plain sailing. 

Should your office go paperless?

The first thing any organisation should consider before it takes the paperless plunge is whether its office would be able to operate effectively without the use of paper. 

For some organisations, such as law or accountancy firms, going paperless simply isn’t an option, as many departments rely on systems that require physical documentation due to legal necessity, permanence and confidentiality.

Paperless Office
Employee checking in stacks of papers and files. 

In these organisations, a paper-light approach is better suited, as it will allow them to reap many of the benefits of the paperless office while reducing its effects on crucial operations. 

Another thing to consider is the time and cost required to take the sustainably digitaliseyour office. It will take time to identify the areas of your operations that can be made paperless, and then ensure that your staff understand these new digital processes. 

It is also important to highlight the security concerns related to digitalisation. The paperless enterprise must invest in robust security measures to protect crucial files stored on the cloud if it wishes to prevent attacks from hackers or data loss. 

To read more about cybersecurity, visit our dedicated Business Continuity Page. 

Luckily, both the paperless and paper-light process includes transitioning to an electronic document management system that digitalises files and stores them in a repository – making it easier to access and keep safe. 

Some of the programmes involved in this process include using note-taking apps and software. Switching to electronic signature solutions, using project management tools, storing files electronically, and using online contract tools. 

Patience and communication are key

As tempting as it may be to dive into the commitment to paperless head first, shifting to a paperless office requires a lot of planning, organisation and preparation.

Employees need time to adjust to the new working environment, and it’s best not to overload them with new ideas and information to reduce productivity challenges. 

A gradual approach will help staff feel more comfortable and confident with the changes. It’s best to begin by going paper-light initially and work your way up from there – it will also help spread costs over time. 

In line with this, it is also important to communicate with your staff the reasons behind your decision to go paperless, as it is they that will be most heavily impacted. 

To provide a platform for this communication to take place, you create an extensive training programme that teaches your staff how to use the digital technologies you wish to implement in the office. 

Once your system is in place, it’s important to regularly review your progress by analysing data and gathering employee feedback. 

This will allow you to alter or tweak weak points in your new system, allowing you to create a proactive digital platform that harnesses all the benefits of enterprise digitalisation.

Article by PandaDoc

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