Companies operating across all sectors - from healthcare to manufacturing - are increasingly embracing a digital way of doing business. Leaving behind the old way of printing every document and archiving paper records in vast filing systems, they’re instead choosing to use electronic methods, like email and cloud-based storage. The main factor driving this? Cost.
Going paperless can save a company huge sums of money. In fact, Gartner estimates that US businesses spend between $25 and $35 billion processing paper documents each year. That says nothing about the cost of producing them – the ink, the toner, and of course, the vast bricks of A4 paper.
If your business is contemplating switching to a digitized office, you can look forward to several cost and efficiency savings. We’re sharing four, below.
#1 – Cut down on paper usage
Paper is expensive. On Staples’ website, a single case of ordinary white copy paper, containing 5,000 sheets, costs just slightly more than $30. By some estimates, the average American office worker can use up to 10,000 sheets of paper each year. Hypothetically assuming you have 100 people working in your office, you’ll quickly learn you’re spending over $6,000 each year solely on paper.
That, by anyone’s standard, is a large sum of money. If you’re working on a small budget, limiting your expenditure on paper can allow you to invest elsewhere. You could buy new IT equipment, or maybe send a talented employee on a training course, allowing them to add more value to your organization.
#2 – Save money on labor costs
If time is money, then managing paper documents is expensive indeed. Let’s assume you’re paying an employee $30 an hour and they spend 10 minutes printing and filing a document. That works out to about $5 per document. While that might not be a lot, it’s a figure that inevitably snowballs into a bigger, more expensive problem over time.
Digital processes are far quicker. Finding a document is often as easy as searching for its title, much like you would with Google. Because there are no trips to basement archive rooms involved, employees are more productive. And by using a secure document sharing system, like Microsoft SharePoint, companies ensure files are only accessed by those who need to use them.
#3 – Free up some space
Do you know what’s more expensive than paper? Real estate. In San Francisco, corporate tenants typically spend $80 per square foot (PSF) each month. In New York, costs vary from $65.83 PSF in Manhattan to roughly $30 in Staten Island, according to the 2019 NAIQueens Commercial Real Estate Market Report. With rental costs high, do you really want to spend hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars each month on storage space for documents that aren’t likely to be looked at?
By ditching the filing cabinets, you can downsize to a smaller office, or use that existing space for something more beneficial – like a meeting space or an employee rest area.
#4 – Better access, better productivity
Paper documentation has one Achilles heel – in order to use it, you need to have it. While that’s usually not a problem, what happens if you’re working from home, or you’re travelling on business?
Not having the right documentation can make it hard to get things done. But if those documents are saved digitally, and stored in a sharable platform, i.e. either on a device’s local storage, or in the cloud, that impediment to productivity is removed and documents can be accessed from virtually anywhere in the world.
Bonus – It’s better for the environment
Copy paper might be white, but it certainly isn’t green. The paper industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters, accounting for four percent of all global energy consumption. According to the 2018 State of the Global Paper Industry, it takes between 10 and 20 liters of water to produce a single sheet of water. And that’s without mentioning the deforestation of trees resulting from the paper industry needs, or the use of chemicals like chlorine used in paper bleaching.
Sure, going paperless might be good for your wallet, but it’s even better for the planet. And isn’t that reason enough?
Your weapon of choice
When going paperless, there are lots of tools you’ll inevitably use. Microsoft SharePoint or Google Drive will allow you to share documents between colleagues. Google Docs will allow employees to work on them collaboratively without printing revisions. And when it comes to digitizing your existing documents, you’ll need the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500.
The ScanSnap iX1500 is blazing fast. In just three seconds, it can scan a document, automatically uploading it to your favorite online SaaS tool, like Box or Expensify. It can process documents based on their type, including business cards and invoices, and can automatically name files based on their context.
Cheap. Green. Painless. When will you go paperless?