Why go paperless, when you can go paper-light?

8th July 2019

Is paper-light more achievable than paperless? In Business Week, 44 years ago, an article with the title – ‘Office of the Future” was featured. In the article, the term ‘paperless office’ was coined with the prediction that within 20 years, all offices would be paperless.

40 years later and it would appear this prediction might still not have happened. In December 2017, Engineering and Technology Magazine used the term ‘paper-light’ instead of paperless’. In the same article Andrew Morrison, (then) Managing Director at Xerox UK and Ireland suggests that paper usage is not reducing at any great rate. However, the benefits of going ‘paper-light’ would still appear to outweigh the continued dependency on paper and our world’s natural resources.

The benefits of reducing paper in offices centres around cost savings and the reduction of waste. Add to those,easier access to information, having more space in the office, increased productivity and higher efficiencies and the benefits of going paperless soon begin to add up. Or should we say, paper-light.

The challenge of moving your office in the direction of having less paper can be fraught with worry and concern at the perceived disruption of such a task. Worry not. Let’s put this into context and think about disruptive events that might happen in our everyday lives.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale

According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, one of the most life changing and stressful events that can happen to us is divorce (life change units = 73). Further down the scale is marriage (life change units = 50). We would guess that most people reading this article may have done one or the other. Even if you haven’t you can probably guess what those levels of stress might feel like. Moving further down the scale, with a life change units figure of 39 is ‘Business readjustment’. And ‘Change in working hours or conditions’ appears even lower, scoring just 20 life change units. (A ‘Major Holiday’ scores 12 on the scale, showing that even good things can induce stress in us…)

Temporary disruption with a less stressful outcome

The change to paperless/paper-light could be classed as either one of these business related changes. So, would you agree that this switch isn’t rated very highly at all in the grand scheme of things? It could also infer that it’s merely the thought of changing to a paper-light office that makes it seem so daunting. The end of a marriage, for example, could lead to an even more stressful situation – divorce. Implementing a paper-light office may cause temporary disruption. However the pay offs and the long term gains should not lead to a potentially more stressful situation. The exact opposite, in fact, with the benefits we listed at the start of the blog bringing your business positive outcomes – less cost, more efficiencies, less waste etc etc.

Whilst the thought of moving your paperwork to an online system may fill you with dread, at least you know your office of the future will be worth all of that time and effort. Unlike your ex-husband or wife. Maybe.

To find out how CPL Software can help improve your efficiencies, reduce your costs and waste, call us on 0345 646 0240 or email us info@cplsoftware.com