Modern, forward-thinking organizations spend more time and energy every year looking for ways to lessen the environmental impact of their business processes. While this is unquestionably a great development, it can be a difficult transition for companies unfamiliar with the move, as they have to balance the benefits of a new, socially-conscious business approach with its costs.
But here’s some good news: company-wide green initiatives like going paperless with document scanning can actually prop up bottom lines and, when done correctly, improve profitability.
Here are a few reasons why:
A Paperless Office Improves Efficiency and Lowers Costs
Paper costs money, as does employee time. Purchasing and maintaining expensive printers, constantly ordering boxes of paper, fair wages for employees, and any efficiency issues resulting from taking employees away from other work to retrieve and/or distribute printed forms throughout an office are all expenses that really add up when taken together. According to the EPA, for instance, the average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy and printer paper each year. Some industry estimates further note that printing costs are typically the third-highest business operating expense, after rent and payroll.
Scan your documents instead, and not only will all of those machines and all of that paper no longer be necessary, but employee efficiency will go up, too.
Beyond expenses, there’s a more under-the-radar cost/benefit ratio to consider. Many of the most talented modern workers have been shown time and again to prefer working for and with innovative companies who care about their environmental footprint. When you can prove to a potential hire that your company is socially-conscious and productive and innovative as a result, your organization will be more appealing to these candidates. The youngest members of the workforce, furthermore, have grown up with computers and long utilized paper free ways of doing schoolwork, meaning there will be minimal adjustment necessary as they acclimate to your paperless office.
Eliminate Paper from Your Green Office Right From the Beginning
If you take the push to paperless a step beyond document scanning with the use of e-forms, you will eliminate paper from the outset. Everything from employment applications to rewards club membership forms to online orders can be filled out electronically, as well as sorted, routed, and approved, with no paper necessary at any step of the process. The best way to eliminate paper, after all, is to never use it in the first place, so the combination of e-forms and document scanning gets rid of paper from the very beginning.
This means you’ll no longer have to invest in printers and paper, nor their upkeep and reordering, while the benefits resulting from the switch can grow and multiply, in some cases exponentially. Refine your processes and manage them effectively, and it could mean big things as far as payback and ROI go.
Three More Facts About a Paperless Office
- According to calculations done by TotallyPaperless.com, a new document management system can return as much as $20 to $40 for every dollar invested;
- According to those same calculations, within two years the approach can generate an 80% return on investment;
- Industry group AIIM reports that 59% of organizations that went paper free achieved payback in less than 12 months, including 26% in less than six, while 84% of businesses were paid back in 18 months.
As you can see, a paperless office can immensely improve your firm’s bottom line. Good thing, then, that going green has never been easier, nor more cost-effective.