Throughout the world’s culture and especially in American society is a growing trend to “go green”; that is, to adopt Earth-friendly behaviors, policies, and technologies in order to avoid disastrous eco-consequences in the future. While the most vocal proponents of green thinking will provide provocative, even alarmist rhetoric behind the ideas, most will at least agree that certain aspects of going green, such as using less energy and breaking reliance on fossil fuels, can be beneficial.Among the concepts that fit the green school of thought is the idea of going paperless: An organization no longer printing onto paper, nor otherwise using paper for communications or data retention. Many may balk at the idea of no longer printing e-mails, company calendars, or other commonly held items, but the advantages of a paperless system are worth considering.
In any office environment, there are common supply needs, from paper clips to shipping boxes and everything in between. Two of the largest expenses for any cubicle-heavy company are paper and ink. The paper may be common copy paper, letterhead, or photo paper, depending on the business; the ink can be bulky toner cartridges for large laser units, or just ink for inkjets. Regardless of the business size or the form of these expenses, their absence can result in significant savings with a switch to paperless.
Also, paperless procedures can incorporate savings in time as well. Regular services such as bank statements, bills, catalogues, and others can be switched to online-only. This eliminates the need to receive and open mailings. This is a two-way road as well, because when a company switches its brochures and marketing into less snail mail-heavy venues, it can be a time-saver to no longer need to assemble these mailings, in addition to the savings in postage.
With the advent of the personal computer, and especially the internet, corporations worldwide have trended toward using less paper in general practice. For example, the advent of the digital database eliminated the need to process forms one sheet of paper at a time. Now, records for customers, vendors, and other relations can be entered into software and later more easily, quickly accessed.
As businesses encounter additional technological avenues for marketing and other uses, and how to best take advantage of such phenomenal forces as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, some organizations may find themselves left behind and losing touch with cultural relevancy. Failure to adapt will eventually mean failure to meet the bottom line, and going paperless will be the norm quicker than its alternative.
Sometimes simplicity remains most effective, and the benefits from going paperless are no exception, as adopting paperless policy definitively adds office space otherwise occupied by paper and paper-related endeavors. For instance, although there may be storage rooms devoted to keeping paper records on hand, these could be completely removed if they were scanned and archived digitally instead. This idea alone can be fairly easy to pursue in order to provide an immediate bonus.
The planet has yet to see the full effect of green thinking, and going paperless is just one component of the grand idea to save the world. As its own niche, though, it is certainly arousing curiosity and spreading in popularity. Perhaps paperless will soon be the new paradigm, and businesses worldwide will reap the benefits.