The paperless office has become a phenomenon in the corporate world. However, paper products should remain a significant tool in the workplace, as they are easier to read and notice.
Visual people appreciate being able to use paper products. Although calendars are available on most personal devices, it's easy to see weeks ahead on physical ones. Users can add sticky notes and write all over paper calendars. Electronic statements are easy to miss and automatic payments don't consider how much money one has available in the bank.
These are just some examples of disadvantages in the paperless office. Companies need to deeply consider whether or not its necessary they transform themselves into an all-digital organization.
Paper encourages focus and efficiency
Philly.com reported that the best way to be productive is to act on the important. Emails are hard to see as crucial when they're not physically in our hands. They're easy to ignore and lose in a spam folder. On the other hand, when memos are placed on employees' desks, they can't be ignored. Staff can't make the excuse it was in the spam folder and workers feel more urged to act.
Additionally, electronic software grants staff a gateway to various distractions. When they're forced to be on their computers or personal devices to get work done, it's easy for employees to lose their way on an application or the Internet. Workers need to avoid allowing their technology to rule them, according to Philly.com. It's highly addicting and can break the pattern of productivity.
Paper improves efficiency. When there's only a paper and pen, it's difficult to get distracted. The world fades out and that project becomes the only task that needs to be finished. If everything is digital, there's a greater risk of technology addiction in the workplace. Philly.com noted this can instigate staff disengagement.
Underestimating the power of paper
Going paperless is a lot of work. Businesses have to do a complete overhaul to transform their processes to comply with digital documentation. Each employee must contribute by scanning their own reports and physical information into the new paperless software. That pile of paperwork waiting to be transformed into digital may become a giant distraction.
GoLocalProv reported that many companies create more work for themselves when they go paperless, as employees often still use physical documents after they scan them into the new system. It's common for employees to prefer papers over digital. They're also typically unprepared to add additional tasks to their workload, such as converting all of these documents.
The source added that many companies only become paperless due to peer pressure. Some organizations are going paperless to improve their processes – but how many businesses are struggling with the ones they already have in place? If businesses consider how well they're doing and find there are not many issues, they should keep their paper products and avoid doing unnecessary extra work to become all-digital.
Before organizations make the change to paperless, they need to do their research. Employees may prefer paper documents over digital. To deny them that risks their engagement and overall morale.