We’re constantly surrounded by digital technology in every aspect of our working lives. Most of your job is spent using a computer or another electronic device. You send emails instead of letters and deal with a lot of digital data. And yet, some workplaces still keep paper documents. These can be bills, contracts, or anything else that might be important for your company. Unfortunately, keeping paper documents comes with its fair share of drawbacks and problems. But, you could argue that it also has some advantages. Is it worth maintaining a collection of physical documents in your workplace? Let’s look at the pros and cons:
Pro – A fail safe for lost digital assets:
What happens if a computer breaks down that contains lots of key documents or data? It had a list of clients on there with their addresses and contact details. Or, it contained all of your bills for that quarter. You didn’t back anything up to the cloud, so it’s lost forever. Paper documents provide a fail safe in case of any digital issues. You have copies of important documents that you can now look at and use. This can be so helpful in situations when you’re trying to manage your books but can’t find the digital versions of bills and transactions.
Pro – Some customers/clients prefer physical documents:
Not everyone enjoys getting things digitally. Some of your customers may want actual physical copies of contracts and other key documents. If you only provide them with digital versions, it might lead to some annoyance.
Con – Easier to lose/damage:
The big problem with physical documents is that they are far easier for you to lose or damage. All it takes is some bad weather or an accident to spill water on a box full of documents. Immediately, they’re damaged almost beyond repair. Sure, you can use expert contents restoration services to try and bring them back to life, but it might be too late. Just like that, you’ve lost some truly important data or information that you’re unable to recover. When things are stored digitally or in the cloud, it is almost impossible to damage them. You can keep numerous copies on multiple devices to ensure that, if one copy does get damaged, there are many others to call upon.
Con – Harder to keep track of:
Keeping paper documents is a lot harder than keeping digital ones. You need a filing system that keeps everything neat and tidy at all times. Already, this poses some issues relating to your workspace. Is there physically enough space for you to have multiple filing cabinets to store all of these documents? Then, you have to consider how hard it is to keep track of all the documents. When you need a specific thing, how quickly can you find it among your paper documents? You’ll take a few minutes at the very least – and that’s if you have an awesome system. If things are stored digitally, they can be found in seconds by running a search.
Con – You use lots of paper:
Paper usage should be decreasing as we look to fight for a more sustainable planet. In fact, one of the simplest ways to make a business more sustainable is by becoming paperless. You drastically decrease the demand for the paper industry, meaning fewer trees get cut down and turned into paper. If every business went paperless, we might have a genuinely positive impact on the planet. So, keeping paper documents means you technically increase your carbon footprint by a tad. If you want to use less paper around the office, perhaps you should consider getting rid of paper documents and going digital.
All things considered, paper documents don’t really have that many advantages. It can be handy to keep some physical copies of important things – like supercritical contracts, licenses, etc. But, in the grand scheme of things, most businesses shouldn’t have a huge collection of paper documents anymore. Instead, the focus should be on taking your old documents and digitizing them! They are safer when stored on devices and stored in the cloud. The world is going paperless, maybe it’s time for your business to follow suit?
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