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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*

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102 Comments

  1. August 15, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    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.

    • August 17, 2016 / 12:27 pm

      Absolutely everything digital has great enviromental benefits

  2. August 15, 2016 / 7:23 am

    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.

    • August 17, 2016 / 12:26 pm

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

  3. Melanie Edjourian
    August 14, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    I barely use much paper at the moment so I am almost paper free!!!!! πŸ˜‰

    • August 17, 2016 / 12:25 pm

      Almost I think is all we can do at the moment

  4. Mandi
    August 13, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    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!

    • August 17, 2016 / 12:25 pm

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

  5. Shannon Ritchie
    August 13, 2016 / 5:56 pm

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

    • August 13, 2016 / 6:14 pm

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

  6. Beautyqueenuk
    August 13, 2016 / 5:49 pm

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

    • August 13, 2016 / 5:53 pm

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

  7. Hungry_Healthy_Happy
    August 13, 2016 / 11:06 am

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

    • August 13, 2016 / 5:40 pm

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

  8. dee
    August 13, 2016 / 12:12 am

    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.

    • August 13, 2016 / 8:30 am

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

  9. blm03
    August 12, 2016 / 6:03 pm

    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.

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      I think some things will always be paper

  10. August 12, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:01 pm

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

  11. Laura
    August 12, 2016 / 2:27 pm

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:00 pm

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

  12. Gym Bunny Mummy
    August 12, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:00 pm

      Hahaha I think we all do

  13. Sarahjane
    August 12, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    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!

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:00 pm

      We have the same in my office

  14. August 12, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    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

    • August 12, 2016 / 7:59 pm

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

  15. August 12, 2016 / 12:46 pm

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 7:59 pm

      Thanks and so true, I am the same

  16. Hannah Heartss ❄️⛄️
    August 12, 2016 / 9:56 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 10:21 am

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

  17. Kara
    August 12, 2016 / 9:41 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 10:20 am

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

  18. Jemma @listoflovelythings
    August 12, 2016 / 9:29 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 10:20 am

      Hahaha you can always have some cute stationery somewhere

  19. Clairejustineo
    August 12, 2016 / 7:28 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:18 am

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

  20. August 12, 2016 / 7:17 am

    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!).

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:17 am

      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

  21. Laura - dear bear and beany
    August 12, 2016 / 6:35 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:16 am

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

  22. August 12, 2016 / 5:25 am

    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.

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:16 am

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

  23. August 12, 2016 / 5:23 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:15 am

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

  24. CourtneyLynne Storms
    August 12, 2016 / 5:11 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:15 am

      Hahaha so is half the world lol

  25. August 12, 2016 / 2:11 am

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:15 am

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

  26. August 12, 2016 / 12:19 am

    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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:14 am

      Absolutely, a backup system is necessary

  27. August 11, 2016 / 10:08 pm

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:13 am

      Hahaha I like that a day off indeed

  28. Ickle Pickle
    August 11, 2016 / 9:38 pm

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:13 am

      I know the feeling

  29. August 11, 2016 / 9:17 pm

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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:13 am

      Maybe in the future they might do

  30. August 11, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    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.

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:13 am

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

  31. Natasha Mairs
    August 11, 2016 / 6:30 pm

    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

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:12 am

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

  32. http://tiarastantrums.com
    August 11, 2016 / 6:23 pm

    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.

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:11 am

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

  33. Anita Anderson
    August 11, 2016 / 6:03 pm

    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.

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:11 am

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

  34. Rachel Akers
    August 11, 2016 / 5:26 pm

    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.

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:10 am

      Definitely helps with the organisation and reduction in clutter

  35. August 11, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    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.

    • August 12, 2016 / 8:10 am

      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

  36. J-Man and MillerBug
    August 11, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    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.

    • August 11, 2016 / 5:23 pm

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

  37. Pam
    August 11, 2016 / 4:27 pm

    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.

    • August 11, 2016 / 5:22 pm

      I know the feeling.

  38. August 11, 2016 / 4:22 pm

    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.

    • August 11, 2016 / 5:22 pm

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

  39. August 11, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    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.

    • August 11, 2016 / 5:19 pm

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

  40. August 11, 2016 / 2:50 pm

    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! πŸ™‚

    • August 11, 2016 / 2:52 pm

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

  41. stressymummy
    August 11, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    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

    • August 11, 2016 / 2:52 pm

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

  42. Joanna
    August 11, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    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.

    • August 11, 2016 / 2:53 pm

      Absolutely, you always have to back-up everything

  43. August 11, 2016 / 2:04 pm

    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

    • August 11, 2016 / 2:53 pm

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

  44. August 11, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    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.

    • August 11, 2016 / 2:54 pm

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

  45. Robin Rue
    August 11, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    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 πŸ™‚

    • August 11, 2016 / 2:54 pm

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

  46. August 11, 2016 / 11:32 am

    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.

    • August 11, 2016 / 12:18 pm

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

  47. Lyndsey O'Halloran
    August 11, 2016 / 11:01 am

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

    • August 11, 2016 / 12:18 pm

      That I won’t be giving up anytime soon

  48. Little Steps
    August 11, 2016 / 11:00 am

    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

    • August 11, 2016 / 12:18 pm

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

  49. LaaLaa
    August 11, 2016 / 9:47 am

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

    • August 11, 2016 / 10:18 am

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

  50. August 11, 2016 / 7:41 am

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

    • August 11, 2016 / 8:32 am

      Less paper wastage less trees cut down for paper

  51. rjpmontoya
    August 11, 2016 / 5:48 am

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

    • August 11, 2016 / 6:52 am

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

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