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Seven disadvantages of a paperless office

For years now, the media have told us that paperless offices are the future. We won’t need to use a single sheet of paper during the working day – instead, it’ll all be done electronically. Computers have become a staple of office life, and we certainly don’t send as many letters as we used to – but only 1% of European offices are paperless. That’s right: 99% of offices still use paper. Here at PMG Print Management, we help offices save money on their inside print  – that’s all the printed materials that are used during the running of the office including envelopes, notebooks, stationery, internal forms and memos. Many of our clients have found that print doesn’t need to be expensive, nor environmentally damaging. In many cases, paperless offices still aren’t the best means of operating a business. Here are just some of the disadvantages of switching to a paperless office:

#1: Dependence on technology

If all of your work is electronic, what do you do if your laptop breaks? You’ll have to try and find another way of accessing the documents, but this can be easier said than done if you haven’t saved a backup anywhere. If you’re reliant on the cloud, a dodgy internet connection can cripple your business – you won’t be able to access documents, nor will you be able to save any changes. If you have some offline documents (also known as paper!) that you can work on while your internet connection is down, it’ll mean that the dent to your office’s productivity will be negligible.

#2: Health problems

Staring at screens for long periods of time can give your employees eyestrain. Tapping away at a keyboard day in, day out may give your employees RSI or carpal tunnel syndrome. Offering your employees alternative, non-computer based tasks to complete will greatly reduce the likelihood that they’ll suffer from these health problems and others like them.

#3: Disposing of electronics

The vast majority of paper and printed documents can be recycled with ease. By contrast, electrical items need to be disposed of much more carefully, or else dangerous chemicals could be released into the environment.

#4: Security

These days, the biggest security risks tend to be online. Physical documents are easier to protect than electronic files, which hackers can target and obtain in an often untraceable manner.

#5: Professionalism

When you’re meeting with potential new clients, a professional looking printed brochure, leaflet or catalogue will make a much better impression than a generic PowerPoint presentation or pdf. Use print finishing techniques to create an extra special printed product, wowing your clients and gaining you valuable business.

#6: Making notes

Recent improvements to many software programs have made it easier to make notes on electronic documents, but nothing yet beats the yellow Post-it note for simplicity, practicality and efficiency. There’s something about paper notes that demand your attention – in stark contrast to a note that’s tucked away on a Word document that you’ve long since forgotten about.

#7: Networking

LinkedIn has presented a new way for professionals to gain contacts and search for new business, but the business card isn’t dead yet. We think that physical, printed cards are more likely to prompt a spark of recognition than a LinkedIn profile.

#8: Carbon debt

There is an oft-held belief that a paperless office is a low-carbon office, but this is rarely the case. Paperless offices employ digital devices that must be kept charged or connected to the mains, using electricity provided by the national grid. Furthermore, these devices are constructed using non-renewable or environmentally damaging materials, such as petrochemical products or heavy metals. By using sustainable paper, a print-based office can be more environmentally conscientious than a paperless office.

99% of office managers can’t be wrong: inside print still has a future. Find out how PMG Print Management can help you with your office printing problems.

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