It’s been a long time since I heard anyone talk about the paperless office. Of course it’s a myth, always has been and probably always will be as there are times when only paper will do. What people have meant by this is a general reduction in the use of paper and a drive to become more efficient through the use of technology.
It did seem odd to be talking about it again, especially when the idea of an office for many has been completely turned on its head, but then it got me thinking that perhaps now is the very time to raise the subject again.
Of course, the arguments about greater efficiency have not gone away. These days there is even more pressure to reduce costs and improve margins wherever possible. Reviewing your systems and processes is a good way to look at releasing cash back into your business.
There are more exciting opportunities presented by going paperless though. By starting with the premise that paper-based systems are inefficient it gives you the incentive to think about your business in its entirety. It could be the catalyst to transform the business into something new.
Removing paper could lead to a business that can operate from anywhere. This could lead to breaking out of the geographic confines of the existing business and move into new markets. If you are strong in certain market segments locally then there’s a chance that you could be equally successful in the same market segments elsewhere.
It could also lead to taking on staff in areas you would have difficulty reaching in the existing set up. The business could be transposed to new areas or franchised, approaching new customers in areas previously out of bounds.
There is also a huge opportunity, especially if you work in a service based sector, to use your experiences of going paperless to work with your clients to help them through the same journey, inducing greater loyalty and the sense of support that you give to them.
These are far more exciting opportunities from being paperless than merely reducing the amount of paper you use.