The Benefits of Creating a Paperless Office


In late 2016 I was approached by a friend about getting their HR procedures back on track. They had a clear idea of what they wanted, a plan for doing it, and brought me in to make it happen. I was totally gobsmacked when I walked into their office for the first time. Paper, paper and more paper. It was as if they were still using typewriters…

It was going to take a lifetime just to find the right documents so we could get started. How could someone so on top of things have an office that looked like it hadn’t changed since the 70s? Were they unaware that computers could file documents? So, I did the job and it went well, but it took a lot longer than it needed to and placed unnecessary stress on the client and on me.

At Datatime we see a similar issue with our clients! They hoard paper and only look for a solution when their processes become inefficient and costly. Our Accounts Payable automation services literally take away the stress, the paper and the people needed to manage this process. These duties can be transferred to much more valuable and interesting tasks enabling employees to grow and become more productive returning the savings to your organisation. So here at the top five benefits they would receive from implementing a paperless office. 

5 Benefits anyone gets from creating a paperless office

1 – Save time

paperless office

The time we spent looking for the right piece of paper, the right folder, the right set of notes, it wasn’t huge – maybe 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, but it added up, over the long run their office is going to see whole days wasted finding bits of paper. According to Record Nations, apparently in the US, the average worker spends 30-40% of their time looking for information kept in filing cabinets. One would assume that in this age of advanced computer systems, that everything would be digital now?

I can tell you know I would be immensely pissed off if one of my employees spent just short of half their time looking for documents…

2 – Save money

Nobody works for free, least of all me. However, as a consultant, I strive to give the biggest bang for your buck possible. But sometimes it’s out of my hands. I simply can't put my time on hold just because we had to spend it in that deep, dark cave every office seemed to have only 20 years ago.  

This wasted money you could, and should, be paying me to help solve your problems. On a more worrying level is my point about their time wasted – if you or your staff are spending nearly half their time collating documents, how many hours, or even days of lost productivity does that amount to? How much money?

3 – Work Remotely and create a virtual office

I don’t want you to think I didn’t like this client. But having said all that, we didn’t need to meet in person as much as we did. If they had a paperless office, and everything was digitalised, I could have been given access to their shared drive, worked remotely, and freed them up for anything and everything else they had on their plate. They didn’t need to provide me with office space or greet me at the door, they could have sent me a password, a file destination, and a ‘get on with it’.

But there are more benefits to digitisation than just not having to put up with me. How many people do you have in your office that could take advantage of a more flexible work schedule? Some of the biggest impediments to equality in the workforce stem from inflexible work arrangements, so any step towards fixing that has to be positive.

4 – Minimise your staff 

Benefits of creating a paperless office

Document filing, sorting, and retrieval is a skill. However, it’s a skill in the same way that operating a typewriter is a skill – it’s really one that should be on the way out in the modern office. Both of us, independently, should have been able to access the documents we need, without having to learn a complex system, call someone in who’s learnt it for us, or know how to put it back without stuffing up the system for the next person. There was only one person who needed to be called into this project, me. The people that had to help could have had spent their time on more pressing tasks. A paperless office is one step closer to a streamlined office – people should have the luxury of spending more time at what they’re good at, rather than shifting things from A to B.

5 – Less office space required

Working through a huge stack of paper that doesn’t seem to get smaller or easier to navigate is a little demoralising. Better productivity can be as simple as reducing the amount of clutter around you. I know it’s a long a time ago for most of us, but did anyone work out of their bedroom at uni from time to time? I did, and I learned very early on that being surrounded by a mess meant I just got nothing done – the same principle applies at the office. Making sure you work in a cleared and ordered space and you’ll never catch yourself searching through reams of paper, or picking your way through random mess, and you’ll find you’re a lot more able to get things done.

So we got the job done, and it was a good one, and I’ll absolutely work with this person again should they need me. But the transition to paperless offices has been going on for nearly a decade now, and it was an excellent lesson into why that is: cheaper, faster, fairer, better. There’s no room for paper in the modern office. And I’m exciting thinking about what we’re going to do with all that extra space!

Images: Deposit Photos

Trevor Vas

Trevor Vas – Director of Sales and Marketing, PNORS Technology Group

Trevor is widely recognised throughout Australia and New Zealand for his knowledge and expertise in all areas of talent management. Skilled in senior management, Trevor previously held senior positions as CEO at Resources Solutions Australia, CEO at Robert Walters Tri-Star and Business Consultant at ICL.

Trevor is an entrepreneur and has grown a number of businesses in the Human Capital space including Australasian Talent Conference (ATC), Human Capital Management Solutions (HCMS), Insidejob and Resourcing CRM.

Trevor also works with a number of startups and businesses at Director and Advisory levels. Trevor offers extensive cross-industry experience having consulted for clients including Fletcher Building, NZ Post, Air NZ, ASB Bank, BHP Billiton, Westpac and Origin Energy.