Paperless Office – Pros and Cons

Paperless office is defined as a work environment where use of paper is either completely eliminated or greatly reduced. Working in the Pharma, millions of stories have been told of how it used to be back in the day. Most of the submissions were done via paper and it was a task that many people hated dreaded. Fast forward years later and practically all submissions are now done electronically. There are only a number of submissions that are still paper. Comparing ‘back then’ to now within the company, there has been almost 80% elimination of paper submissions.

Paperless office is really the latest crazy in the corporate world. We are trying to be environmentally friendly but what are some of the pros and cons of a paperless office. I have been working in pharma for just under five years now and I have seen the changes happening in companies with regards to going paperless.

One of the changes is the use of electronic databases or platforms within the pharma industry tailored to support the company business needs. An example, previously pharma companies captured clinical trial data on paper, now everything can be captured electronically. IDBS is a company that is offering R&D companies the option to have Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELN) a one stop shop for data management. The need to have a paperless office has brought about developments of a multitude of softwares that are adaptive dependent on company needs. That is all well and good but one still has to think about the pros and cons of a paperless office.

PROS and CONS of Paperless Office

As with everything in life, there are always Pros and Cons, regardless of whether it is an improvement or not. I have decided to list what I consider to be the pros and cons of a paperless office and share some of my experiences.

PROS

  • Save Money – I think every company in the current economy is thinking of ways to save money, paper included. Naturally if you use less paper, you spend less money on buying paper.
  • Being environmentally friendly – using less paper we are saving a tree from being cut down. We are encouraging forestation.
  • Save Space – Working in an office, you always need somewhere to store the paper for printing. Using less paper creates more room for other equipments.
  • Remote access – If all documents are electronic, they can be accessed anywhere in the world. Utilising the advancements in technology, documents can be saved on a cloud and be accessible.

CONS

  • Software updates can be very expensive. Added expense when there is no internal IT support.
  • Train new staff or users. overtime you change softwares, the staff will need to be re-trained.
  • Regular back-ups are necessary in case of a file corruption, hacking or computer viruses.
  • Human error is a big factor because information is only as good as the information added.
  • Finally privacy becomes an issue because everything electronic is potentially hackable.

I am all for a paperless office because it allows me to work from anywhere in the world and not be restricted to one location. But I still have to think about all the potential privacy issues that technology brings about. 

A paperless office is more efficient but one can argue as mentioned above, it is only as good as the training given. Human error is a huge factor but the right training can reduced the risk.

What are your thoughts on a paperless office?

*Collaborative Post*

Share:
  • I love the environmental benefits of a paperless office – and it’s so much easier to make copies and share things with other people when everything is digital.

    • Absolutely everything digital has great enviromental benefits

  • I love that paperless means you can work anywhere. But sometimes things do go wrong with technology and you need paper. I couldn’t live without notebooks and lists though. There is something about writing with a pen I can’t ever leave behind.

    • I know the feeling, I can not give up my notebook not yet anyway

  • Melanie Edjourian

    I barely use much paper at the moment so I am almost paper free!!!!! 😉

    • Almost I think is all we can do at the moment

  • Mandi

    Most of our office work is paper free, but many of our clients still require the option of printed brochures, so this is going to take a while to switch over entirely!

    • I can certainly imagine, I still like a good brochure now and again

  • Shannon Ritchie

    I could see certain offices being paper free! For my blog I only have a small notebook so I could go paper-less!

    • Yes I can too, for my blog I will always need a notebook

  • Beautyqueenuk

    I have a semi paper-less office. Only important forms which are required by law are kept on file.

    • That’s a good idea to only keep important documents.

  • Hungry_Healthy_Happy

    Being a full-time blogger, I hardly use any paper. I do have a notebook to stay organised, but that’s it.

    • I think most of us are also 90% paperless but there are a few things that we prefer to stay be paper.

  • dee

    My job has been trying to become paperless for a long time. We have had some functions go paperless, but we really can’t seem to get away from using paper.

    • I think there are some things that we will always rely on paper for.

  • blm03

    So many good points! My husbands company is trying to go paperless and I love it. It has allowed him to work from home more but some things still do need to be paper unfortunately.

    • I think some things will always be paper

  • I am quite paperless in most of my work but I do love a good bit of stationary for personal use, as writing actually is therapeutic for me. I do hate how easily hackable everything is when we are online or when the systems go down when being paperless and it means no work can be done at all, then puts you way behind but like you say it has it’s pros and cons xx

    • I can definitely empathise, paperless office great for efficiency but vulnerable to hacking and system failure

  • Laura

    I like to go paperless where possible purely to cut down on the amount of clutter and stuff in my home and office! xxx

    • That’s true, I need to cut down big time at home

  • Gym Bunny Mummy

    I work 99% paperless, it makes everything so much easier to electronic files & spreadsheets. However, I could never give up paper diary, I need that physical paper in my life

    • Hahaha I think we all do

  • Sarahjane

    I wouldn’t say our entire office is paperless but a lot of our work is submitted online. We do have a lot of recycling bins including desk top paper bins to make us think about how much we are printing which is good!

    • We have the same in my office

  • We think a paperless office environment is a good thing, however my mummy’s a graphic designer so will never be truly paperless as she loves the medium too much xx

    • That is true, with graphic design paper can only be a good thing

  • Great post! I try to keep my work paperless, however, there are a couple of things that I do prefer on an actual paper.

    • Thanks and so true, I am the same

  • Hannah Heartss ❄️⛄️

    I work 98% paperless and I do quite like it but it is scary how easy it is to be hacked now

    • Tell me about it, the thought does cross my mind daily

  • Kara

    I am pretty much paperless these days although I do have a calendar I write on and a diary

    • I think most of us will still keep one or two items paperless or not

  • Jemma @listoflovelythings

    Oh but I am such a stationery addict, don’t think I could stick to this!

    • Hahaha you can always have some cute stationery somewhere

  • Clairejustineo

    Great tips. I can see the benefits in both sides. More and more I use the computer but I love to write too 🙂

    • I think more and more of us are moving towards computers but still prefer somethings the old school way which I think is great

  • A thought provoking post, this. I suppose in this day and age it is a lot easier to get rid of paper entirely, but I’m still a bit old school in that I like a tangible document. Computers break down and data gets lost (I know, it frequently happens to me!).

    • For me paperless is a great idea but I still prefer somethings on paper and also having a paper back-up system for essential things is important

  • Laura – dear bear and beany

    My last job was mainly a paperless office, on the whole I would say it was good. There were a few frustrating times.

    • I can imagine, the times when the system is slow os crashes or someone did do the correct job. I feel those too currently

  • I could not work as efficiantly in a paperless office. I think there are prons and cons to both but we all have our preferences and don’t like to be told it is one way or the other.

    • That is so true, we all have our ways and preference.

  • I wish my husband would go paperless, but he still loves writing checks. lol

    • For real? I have not seen a check (except electronic ones) in such a long time

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Ahhhh I love the ifea of going paperless, but yeah… I’m too old and set in my ways, I need my paper lol

    • Hahaha so is half the world lol

  • I love this idea. I would totally be on board, though I’m not sure about getting everyone else to feel the same.

    • Hahaha most of us are stuck in our old ways so it would be difficult at first

  • I think going paperless is such a good idea but there needs to be a backup when technology fails which somehow always seems to happen to me x

    • Absolutely, a backup system is necessary

  • Ali

    I think a paperless system is great – until the computers crash lol! But at least that gives me a day off!

    • Hahaha I like that a day off indeed

  • Ickle Pickle

    I would love paperless as I am useless at sorting it out and filing! I do love little notebooks though! Kaz x

    • I know the feeling

  • I wish my work had a paperless system, we seem to have so much filing to do.

    • Maybe in the future they might do

  • I think these are some good points. It’s definitely cool that some businesses are becoming more eco-friendly. I think looking into digital security options would be a necessity though.

    • Yes so true, digital security is a necessity when runing a paperless office

  • Natasha Mairs

    I think it’s great to go paperless to help save the environment but I love writing my to-do lists down on paper and I’d also be lost without my notebooks

    • I know the feeling well because I am in the same situation

  • http://tiarastantrums.com

    I worked in finance and I will say that going paperless saved me so much time and effort in my work day. I was thrilled when could approve POs, travel arrangements etc all online versus doing it all through paperwork.

    • I can only imagine what a nightmare it must have been approving paper invoices

  • Anita Anderson

    I think going paperless is good. Less chaos of missing papers here or there. Only drawback is if the system is down you revert back to paper.

    • Exactly, either side of the coin had benefits but I guess is which is the lesser devil

  • Rachel Akers

    I love the idea of going paperless. I can see how it would help become more organized and really cut down on all the clutter.

    • Definitely helps with the organisation and reduction in clutter

  • I am not a fan of paper and filing, never was. But sometimes it is nice to have hard copies to refer to. I’m torn.

    • I know the feeling, at work I prefer to be totally paperless but in my home there are things I still want to be on paper

  • J-Man and MillerBug

    My office overall is mostly paperless unable to organize much better that way but there are some things that I do keep start away as a file.

    • I think they will always be a need for somethings to be filed hard copy

  • Pam

    Just like anything in the business world, there are both pros and cons to going paperless. I hate keeping track of papers, so I am all for a paperless office.

    • I know the feeling.

  • This is a great concept, I think with anything there are pros and cons. It’s all about determining what works best for yourself and your home office. For me, I am paperless a lot of the time when working from home.

    • That’s true determing what works for you is always the best way forward though environmental concerns should also be considered.

  • I love the idea of going paperless at work but at home I very much like an old fashioned diary to jot my ideas down.

    • I don’t think I will be giving up my paper diary any time soon

  • I work for the local council and we supposedly went paperless a few years ago, but in practice paper is still dominant. I think it’s better for the environment, and easier to keep track of things – I just wouldn’t have space to store all those paper documents. The big downside for me is that I use my Blackberry Passport for work, but when meetings are webcast it looks like I’m fiddling with my phone when I’m actually just reading the agenda! 🙂

    • Hahaha I know the feeling, I do the day ‘using iPhone to view agenda’

  • stressymummy

    I think as time goes on, we will live in a completely paperless world which has to be a positive as it is more efficient and great for the environment. I must admit that I don’t miss the paperwork that we had as all that sorting and filing was such a waste of time

    • Tell me about it, one of h early jobs was filling and Lord help me never again

  • Joanna

    I’ve been thinking of going paperless with our home documents as we just have no space for it all. I think its a goid idea but would need to make durecwe had back up copies.

    • Absolutely, you always have to back-up everything

  • We are supposed to be paperless at work now but find some staff still like paper versions of certain documents, it can be a logistical nightmare x

    • It can be, we are 80% paper less as some of us still like paper lol

  • I love going paperless. It’s so much less clutter and easier to find documents. We try to use paperless statements from the utility companies as much as possible.

    • I am 90% paperless at home, everything is electronic except for my payslip

  • Robin Rue

    I’m old fashioned so I am not completely on board with the paperless thing, but about 60% of my stuff is paperless at this point. Better than nothing 🙂

    • Definitely better than nothing. There are certain things I prefer in paper and others online

  • I keep my main to do and project list electronically, but I do like a paper daily task list’ I to reuse the back of any paper I am sent so feel fairly green about it.

    • That’s neat Helen, most of us don’t think about it just use and dump

  • Lyndsey O’Halloran

    I can definitely see the appeal! I do like a good, proper notebook too though.

    • That I won’t be giving up anytime soon

  • Little Steps

    I love the idea, especially since as you mentioned it’s environment friendly and you don’t have to worry about storage. However, I’m too paranoid and worry a lot about privacy. x

    • I love it too but worry about privacy as these days anything online had potential to be hacked

  • LaaLaa

    I think it’s a positive but yes people need to remember to do regular backups – something I need to do today!

    • Absolutely, that’s where the human error factor can also come in.

  • I am all for paperless office too. So convenient. No trash anywhere.

    • Less paper wastage less trees cut down for paper

  • rjpmontoya

    For me the paperless office are more convenient these days where technology is always a thing 🙂

    • Absolutely hence why many companies are working towards becoming paperless or as close to that as possible