The campaign to go paperless is widespread. But it still remains an unacceptable concept to most businesses worldwide. The idea of a paperless office is ideal since it reduces the carbon footprint. However, people constantly question. Is it really possible for an office to function paperless? Is it realistic for offices in this day and age? For the most part, no. Offices today rely on paper and printers. Without them, many will not operate fully.
Limitations of Paperless Office
Digital files Rely on Electronic devices
A computer or tablet is needed to access digital files. While a computer is almost always available, it is only convenient for employees posted inside the office premise working the 8-hour shift. A tablet on the other hand is fitting for employees on-the-go who reads and reviews files from time to time. Yet, being a portable device, there is a need to keep the device fully charged, which is added trouble.
Not Everyone is Tech Savvy
Most office employees know basic computer functionalities. However, few are familiar with non-basic tasks. This normally results to lower productivity ratings since employees will spend time learning additional functions to complete the tasks.
High Percentage of Human Error
Data encoding is one critical office duty. All information must be accurate and up-to-date since succeeding transactions will depend on it. Reliance on digital encoding is good especially for numerous transactions because it will hasten the deals and organize files well. Nevertheless, the possibility of human error is high since inputted data could be incorrect. So for check and balance, it is still good to keep a printed copy for review.
Going paperless means keeping all files and records electronically. This is practically convenient and cost-saving but it can pose a problem when the system breaks down. IT personnel can activate a transient system but it will definitely disrupt most office operations.
Not all Offices Can Make the Change
Some offices simply cannot separate themselves from paper. Medical records and legal documents are good examples of this. In a law office, there is concern over usability of digital signatures. This is not a concern with paper. A legal professional can use paper documents in court without any concerns, but may have issues if using digital.
Reasons Why Paper Files Stay
Eye Constraint. On a personal level, most people prefer paper over digital. Using paper documents is easier on the eyes, especially when reading them for extended periods. Digital files, due to the nature of technology, cause eye strain when staring at the screen for too long.
Reports look better on printed paper. Reports on paper set a more personal and dignified format.
Printed documents on paper removes the likelihood of mishaps. Technical booboos can be avoided including compatibility errors, file opening problems, and format inaccuracies.
Paper backup files are necessary. While it is an imposed habit to backup computer systems and keep data, employees cannot access digital records at all times for circumstances beyond one’s control. A reproduced copy of records is a perfect reinforcement should this happen. Besides, having two options for procuring files is a good setup.
Printer replacements and cartridges are easy to find. Printer cartridge replacements are widely available. And if money is a hitch, then third party products is the go to. Choose either low cost remanufactured toner cartridges or refill kits for DIY toner refilling. Going for either option, reduces the carbon footprint without having to go paperless.
Even if there are good points to going paperless, it is not an achievable or realistic goal for many offices. Paper remains an essential part to keeping operations full blast.