Is a Paperless Business Possible? Perhaps a Reduced Paper Policy Is More Attainable

More businesses are leaning into sustainability, driven by the personal beliefs of leadership, by internal pressures from team members eager to work for an eco-friendly company, or by external pressures from customers, clients, and the wider public. Some companies have their hands forced by new eco-friendly legal mandates — and some are becoming more eco-friendly from all four of these causes.

Whatever the reason, large and small businesses alike are adapting policies and updating procedures to keep in line with the global drive for corporate sustainability. Of course, change takes time. And in some cases, the all-or-nothing approach to being a green business might not be attainable.

One complicating factor is paper. Is it possible for a business to go 100% paperless? Here’s why a reduced paper policy might be more attainable — at least for now.

A Full Switch to Digitization May Involve Training

Depending on the type of business, asking employees to switch everyday physical processes to digital alternatives might involve retraining. This can mean training team members on how to scan old documents, how to retrieve them, how to upload them, how to update them, and how to send them.

Such change can be especially challenging if team members are not on board with modernization. While this adjustment will likely need to happen, gathering the funding for employee training could take time.

Employing Digital Systems Costs Money

It’s no secret that new technology costs money. Businesses must purchase the software and the latest machinery to digitize old paperwork.

It’s important to note that once corporate paperwork is uploaded to an online cloud — whether from a database or scanner — any physical copies must be destroyed securely and safely, ideally with a professional shredding company. Take Absolute Destruction, for example. They not only travel to their client’s locations to shred defunct business paperwork, but they also have a green mandate of their own, so businesses can say with confidence that their papers were destroyed with the environment in mind.

In addition to buying software to log dated paperwork, businesses will also likely need to invest in technology that allows them to eliminate paper moving forward. New tech may include tablets for virtual sign-ins in condo buildings, or for logging clients’ exam history at a dental office.

Some Members of the Public Aren’t Comfortable with Virtual Paperwork

We mentioned logging your dental history on a tablet above. For some people, however, this simply doesn’t feel right. They’d much prefer the tangible feel of a pen and paper to write down their medical, or legal history — to name just a few sensitive situations.

This doesn’t just apply to providing data. Some customers prefer to receive certain pieces of information on paper, too. A survey by Consumer Action found that over half of those surveyed preferred their bills in paper form: with 74 percent preferring their medical bills in paper, 71 percent opting for paper for their property taxes, and 61 percent for credit card statements.

Having paper forms and paper receipts as an option can help some businesses retain some of their less tech-inclined customers.

The Takeaway

While going paperless is an ideal scenario for a company looking to boost its green policy, sometimes it simply isn’t immediately viable. It costs time, money and, in some cases, and for some customers, it just won’t work. Instead, a reduced paper policy might be a more attainable solution for all.

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