The Cons of Going Paperless and How To Overcome Them
This is Part 2 of a four part series entitled ‘The Paperless Office Examined’. First we examined the benefits of going paperless, now we’re taking a look at the cons and how we can overcome them. The third part recommends some free or affordable software and applications you can use to go paperless without breaking the bank. Then we’ll show you how to switch your business over to a paperless system fluently without causing any damage.
As we saw in Part 1, there can be tremendous benefits to going paperless, but no good things comes without it’s flaws and this is no different. The good news is that not only can we tell you the likely negative outcomes you will encounter going paperless, but we can also give you the solution to prevent these issues before they even come around.
Signing documents will be a hassle.
Any business that has paperwork for staff and customers to sign off on a regular basis will have a problem transitioning to a paperless system. If you require internal signatures mostly, you can consider investing in software that lets employees add an e-signature or their own signature in image format. A digital pen can also work great for businesses that have customers needing to sign on a regular basis.
Other businesses won’t have the same software you do.
That’s the one benefit of paper you can’t replace – it’s universal. Spend your paperless dollars investing in applications and programmes that either work universally on all common operating system platforms or those that generate documents in standard file formats such as PDF.
Confidentiality becomes an issue when your documents are stored on a computer/network.
In general, you would have to worry about employees breaching confidentiality whether or not you use paper, although electronic versions allow them to disseminate these in the blink of an eye. Apart from that, you now have to think about hackers who may try to break into your company’s network and steal confidential information. We can’t stress how important it is to have updated anti-virus software. Additionally you should get all confidential files encrypted with individual employee passwords so if it ever does get leaked, you can track it. Stolen devices can also present problems. Most devices today come with their own tracking software but you can kick that up a notch by adding remote wiping software that removes sensitive information.
Data may be lost or corrupted.
This one is a simple and common problem. Solution: multiple backups. External hard drives are pretty affordable nowadays. Do frequent backups (daily, if possible) to these and put data more than a month old in the cloud.
Some employees may not be comfortable with using technology.
And that is not your problem. As a matter of fact, since we all know that’s the direction the world is headed, you would only be helping them to ease into it. If your staff isn’t tech savvy enough to get going without help, offer a few training sessions to get them acquainted. They will thank you…eventually.
The power goes or your network fails during business hours.
It sucks to be on either side of this; staff will panic and get frustrated while customers will be angry and annoyed. It’s a nightmare for businesses that rely on ‘here and now’ processes and the power goes. Fortunately, we are now populated with devices that run on battery power. Therefore, the best way to overcome this is to keep a local copy of all ‘daily files’ on a laptop or tablet device.
If you think of any further issues we may encounter in a paperless system, state them in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you overcome them. Next time, we’ll be talking about the specific applications, programmes and devices you can use in your paperless system.