My Challenges Going Paperless In My Business & My New Goals

Did you know the average office uses about 10,000 pages of paper every year? That’s the equivalent of 1 small tree.  If every business went paperless, that could save entire forests! The eco-friendly benefit of going paperless is one of the reasons I decided to switch to a paperless business.

While I’m all about doing my part to be a more sustainable company, it’s been a learning curve and a big change in my “old school” mentality. I have been receptive to change and open to new ideas, but I wanted to be open and honest about my recent struggles with this initiative:

1. Protection from Technology Failure

I get worried that if anything happens with our technology and some of my documents aren’t backed up with an off-site or cloud backup that everything could be lost. Not having those documents would be a huge loss and potential detriment to my business. Having to trust technology is one of my biggest struggles.

2. Upfront Costs

Going paperless can save you money in the long run, but in the short term, it can be very expensive. I have had to purchase a hard drive big enough to hold staff files because I am constantly scanning documentation that our staff bring to the office. Computer programs, cloud backup services, and various software often require ongoing payment subscriptions, and customer support for these programs and software can come at an additional cost. 

3. Employee Security

We’ve all heard about it – hacks, ransom attacks, leaks, and more. The truth is programs, software and digital services can be very vulnerable to hacking which initially worried me when making the switch to paperless. I have done my research about these scenarios and have put precautions in place for these events not to occur. We have trustworthy and secure programs to avoid this happening and I now know how to protect my employees’ data and personal information.

4. Trouble Organizing

While technology is a great tool to organize files and folders, I seem to be having a hard time figuring out how to make this happen. I often spend my time labeling and renaming files, sorting through documents and folders, and forgetting where I placed things! I have learned day by day how to correctly label files and place them in their respective folders, but it can still be very overwhelming. 

5. Health Concerns

While technology does alleviate most of our stresses, hours at a computer can lead to health concerns. Carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as eye, back, and neck strain are all possible effects of working in front of a screen. To prevent these concerns and to stay on top of my overall health, I have researched tools and tips that I can adopt such as purchasing a standing desks and/or blue light glasses and taking essential breaks away from the screen.

6. Dependent on Internet Services

While it may not happen often, the internet going down or interruptions to my service can cause major frustration for everyone in my office. This is especially an issue when traveling for work and not being able to access high-speed unlimited internet.

In today’s world we live in, a paperless office environment is dependent on electricity, laptops, desktop computers, and servers and that’s okay. I have learned to adapt and grow and expand my skillset by embracing technology. How am I doing this? I have implemented two new goals. 1 – Making paper less convenient to use by not having any paper in my office and 2 – Perhaps removing fax machines and printers from the office. Eventually, the habits of a paperless operation will become second nature for me. I need to keep in mind that being slow and steady wins the race. Going paperless isn’t something that happens overnight. If I really want to reduce my dependence on paper then I must be willing to strategize and plan. Going paperless isn’t going to be easy but it will be worth it, for both my pocket and the environment.

~ Patty Shepherd, Owner/Operator, Plan A Glengarry

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