Do paperless offices offer more risks than benefits?

With the accessibility of modern PCs, phones, laptops and tablets, there has been more stress put on offices and businesses to go ‘paperless’. This essentially results in workplaces printing as little as possible, and with technology available now that even allows electronic signatures, there’s just no need to print large documents. But the big question is, of course, is all of this safe?

For paperless systems to work, the computer hardware and software in the office needs to be kept up to date and have strict firewalls to prevent sensitive data from being hacked, which can be costly. Equally, some clients may not want their sensitive details being handled over email and online, as some people are still quite untrusting of the web.

However, going paperless makes storage less of a problem, everyone in the business can gain access to documents remotely if needs be and overall, having everything online can improve the overall efficiency of a business, so it’s not all bad.

However, The Small Business Chronicle argues that if a business is to go paperless then they ideally need an IT person employed full time, to train employees on the paperless systems and to fix them when they’re down. The risk of going paperless is that even just the Internet going down can mean that work comes to a standstill. They also mention how a paperless office can be at risk to our own faults as “improperly scanned documents can result in incomplete records, and files that are incorrectly named or stored electronically are often difficult to retrieve.”

Risks aside for a moment, the benefits of offices going paperless can be huge. We’ve all seen the waste paper tray next the printer over flowing in documents people have printed ‘accidentally’ and this negatively impacts the environment. If you want to consider the environmental impact that printing paper documents in the office has, the Go Paperless initiative made this calculation on the impact of just 10 million pages:

  • 2,500 trees
  • 56,000 gallons of oil
  • 450 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 595,000 KW of energy

Considering these numbers, and how many businesses there are across the country may make you realise that despite the risks associated with putting everything online, it’s definitely time to start cutting down.

Even if you restrict your printing to important documents only, you can still turn to ink cartridge companies that are working on their own green programme, such as Lexmark. Lexmark toner cartridges, are highly committed to sustainability and offer a free recycling programme in association with The Recycling Factory so if printing is a must then go for the green option.

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