One billion photocopies are made every single day. That’s a lot of trees! Though business comes in printed form for many, it raises the question: Is there a better way?
For many companies looking to cut their carbon footprint while increasing their organizational systems, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” The push to go paperless is taking modern offices by storm—and that’s great news for trees.
Although many companies are switching to a paperless approach to take advantage of these benefits, paper usage is still on the rise. According to statista, the annual growth rate for paper usage in the U.S is still expected to increase by roughly 0.4 percent, indicating increased use.
Reducing your paper usage has a myriad of benefits—both for the planet and your business. Read on for more about what “paperless” really means, the full benefits, and how you can move your company in the right direction.
What is a Paperless Office?
Less paper means more PDFs. The PDF is a secure, efficient medium for sharing electronic Traditionally speaking, a paperless office is an office with greatly reduced or eliminated paper usage. In practical terms, a “paperless” office refers to an office that uses primarily digital documents.
As far as what this means for most businesses—it leads to streamlined processes and more organized data. Internally, a paperless office may use a digital onboarding and application process. Online applications are especially useful if you expect a high volume of applicants, allowing you to filter by selected skills or keywords within the application.
Paperless offices may also use direct deposit as opposed to paper paychecks, making for easier record keeping with a significantly lowered carbon footprint.
In terms of external relations, a paperless office may employ a digital document signing platform such as DottedSign to collect NDAs and other forms. The use of this software enables companies to completely eliminate fax machines and greatly reduce the need for printers.
An employee who previously spent hours handling files and verifying signatures could be better employed in other roles—digital signatures are typically self-verifying, and storage of these documents is pain-free and accessible.
You can begin converting to a paperless office by trialing software built for this purpose. As you move forward, you can remove paper-dependent processes from your office through a tiered approach until all documents are functionally paperless.
The Benefits of Creating a Paperless Office
Certainly, the paperless office is good for the environment—everyone loves a green company. But with many big-name brands leading the push for paperless, there is no shortage of perks to adopting the paperless office model.
The following are just a few of the key benefits of going paperless.
- Save time and money by eliminating redundant processes. While the cost of a sheet here or there may feel inconsequential, the costs of printing, faxing, paper, ink, and more add up over time. In fact, 65% of small and medium businesses spend between $1,000-5,000 on paper-related expenses per month! Moreover, the estimated cost for lost or misplaced paper documents is staggering—as much as $125 per misfiled document in terms of time cost to retrieve.
- Enhance work efficiency and productivity by making documents more accessible to your staff. Employees spend as much as 40% of their time looking for paper documents they need to complete day-to-day tasks. Those wasted hours add up—time spent sifting through filing cabinets and making copies to disperse is time away from vital operational tasks.
- Secure important documents and protect your company’s intellectual property by using only secure storage. Paper documents aren’t just hard to keep track of, but just as difficult to secure! 50% of printed documents end up in your garbage, and others may accidentally find their way home with employees. Should a disgruntled employee leave the company, it’s easy to instantly remove their access to digital documents as well.
- Reduce paper consumption and build a better planet for generations to come. While this has a less direct payoff for your office, you can make a positive impact on the planet by going paperless. Travel documents, contracts, paychecks, and more can all be easily digitized. Paper makes up 26% of landfill content by volume—a lot of needless waste that you have the power to help stop.
How to Create a Paperless Workplace?
Converting to a paperless office, though beneficial, is no short-term task. In three to four months, you can implement sizable change, but going paperless is a long-term commitment that will extend far past initial rollouts.
From a practical perspective, no office with a physical location will ever be completely paperless. Many employees prefer reviewing documents in a paper format, and certain sales engagement materials often require printing. Critically, many government-related documents must be on paper in order to be binding and official.
Despite these challenges, all offices can set a realistic goal of going “paper-light.” By reducing paper usage where possible and most beneficial to your business model, you can enjoy a paperless-style office without having to toss your copier out the window. Whether you’re using lead management systems, CRM, or anything else for important data, going paperless can help make things more productive.
In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, there are some excellent systems you can utilize to replace paper products. The following services will help your business go paper-light.
DottedSign: Sign Documents Online & Save Some Time
DottedSign is a cloud-based electronic signature service, built for small to medium-sized businesses, startups, and business professionals’ signing needs. This solution lets you handle your signing tasks on the move, whether you’re commuting, in meetings, or visiting clients. DottedSign allows you to track every task’s progress, ensuring your workflow is uninterrupted.
Using DottedSign empowers you to enact positive change in your workplace. Using this service, you can digitize your contract signing process and eliminate the inefficiencies involved with paper contracts. In fact, businesses can improve efficiency by an estimated 70-80% by adopting digital signing processes. Cutting out time spent printing, faxing, printing again, and reviewing paper contracts—not to mention storing and searching for them when needed—saves time and money!
E-signature services also boost document security. Protect your documents with a certified digital certificate through DottedSign—confirming that your documents are properly signed, legally binding, and protected with encryption. Never worry if every line has been initiated, or whether signatures may be contested again. DottedSign certifies all signatures, crosses your “t’s” and dots each “i” for you.
DottedSign was able to deliver staggering turnaround time results for Cyberbiz, an end-to-end e-commerce solution provider who was dealing with customer frustrations as turnaround time for contracts could take up to two weeks to process. By implementing DottedSign, they were able to eliminate the guesswork and streamline their process—taking turnaround times down from two weeks to just 28 minutes.
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PDF Reader: Put Order in Your Day-to-Day Paperwork
While implementing paperless office policies from the top down may take some time, there are some small changes that employees can implement step-by-step to exercise the idea of a paperless office.
An easy switch for printing out documents to mark up or sign? Try using a PDF editing tool like PDF Reader. PDF Reader does more than the name says—this tool allows you to convert, sign, annotate, and even change the text in PDF documents. Handle sensitive documents, white papers, and more, without ever having to put pen to paper.
This tool is an excellent way to digitize meeting materials, too. There is a tendency to print out meeting notes or agendas so that all involved can take notes. More often than not, however, these documents are lost shortly thereafter, as are the notes were taken on them. Instead, try sending out digital agendas that attendees can access and take notes on with PDF Reader.
On the subject of notes, PDF Reader is an excellent resource for moving those notes online. Sticky notes, sketches on documents, and more are cumbersome to keep track of. Using comments and stamps to transfer information back and forth on a document can be useful when multiple people are working on it, and can improve workflow processes in the office. In addition, you can merge all relevant materials into a single PDF with the help of the free online PDF combiner so that every member of your team can easily keep up with everything that’s important to them.
Moreover, PDF Reader is available on all iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices, making your notes, documents, and more accessible anywhere you are. By allowing employees to transfer information between all of their devices and take them on the go, you encourage the move toward paperless practices. The key to building a strong paperless office is making digital solutions more convenient—and PDF Reader’s cross-platform advantage does just that.
Cross-device functionality is especially important in the current landscape of work-from-home and hybrid workspaces. 74% of US workplaces are either currently using, or plan to utilize, a hybrid office model. In terms of document storage, this presents a strong argument to go paperless. PDF Reader allows employees to work on the same files whether in-office, at home, or on the road.
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Kdan Cloud: Secure Cloud Storage that Powers Team Collaboration
A key benefit of paperless office models is the reduction or elimination of the need for dry document storage. With Kdan Cloud, you can store documents in a searchable and secure cloud space that cuts costs and increases efficiency.
When coworkers pass documents using multiple devices, it can be a struggle to keep up with the latest version—and this is doubly true when it comes to remote working environments. A cloud service like Kdan Cloud brings order to the digital document chaos. It allows users to collaborate with shared folders and sync documents across multiple devices. Users can easily work with secure online storage by setting up passwords or access permissions to protect their privacy.
Integration with award-winning solutions like PDF Reader and Creativity 365 allows Kdan Cloud users to easily store and sync all of their documents or projects. For those already using some form of cloud storage, PDF Reader also integrates with a wide range of cloud services.
A transition to cloud storage is a vital step for any company looking to digitize its workflow and go paperless.
Start with Paper-Light, Aim for Paperless.
A fully paperless office is a lofty, long-term goal to aim for—and it’s okay to start small. Changes that drive a paper-light office culture are a move in the right direction and allow your company to enjoy many benefits of a paperless culture right from the start.
With paper consumption still on the rise, sustainability has never been more vital for companies to stay ahead of the curve. Going paperless—or paper-light—is a step you can take to do your part.
Take the first step today! Download PDF Reader and sign up on Kdan Cloud to get free cloud storage now. Start streamlining your signing process, and request a demo of DottedSign. Your paperless future? It can start right now.