Businesses all over the world are moving on to paperless offices , with most correspondence and work now being done on computers instead of printed documents. For some businesses such as medical and tech, this was a simple transition. Others like accountants are more resistant to change, and often still work mostly on paper. The simple fact of the matter is that computers are overall easier to work with, and the change shouldn’t be resisted.
20 years ago most offices operated using paper as their main media, simply because it was cheaper and everyone knew how to use it. Paper costs have always been low, with industrial pallets of printer paper costing only a few hundred pounds, but this was a constant expense which needed adding to indefinitely. With the advent of cheaper computers recently, it’s simple more economically viable to use computers instead.
The environmental impact of paper is not to be underestimated, with hundreds of square miles of forest torn down every year to cater this need. Paper can often be recycled, but the heating, treating, bleaching, and transportation all adds up. With recent environmental impact laws increasing the taxes on paper, it’s a less viable medium than cheap, long lasting computers. Computers do have a massive environmental impact, but they can also be refurbished and repaired easily, so you get a much longer lifespan out of them.
There is also the matter that you cannot modify things written on paper; once it’s there or printed, it’s essentially written in stone. It’s easier to replace the page than to alter it, so paper is often wasted. This is never an issue with word processors or spreadsheets, because all computer files are basically in a perpetual ‘living’ state.
The value of being able to edit files can’t be underestimated, and is one of the key reasons PCs are such a staple of modern business life. Mistakes are made, and can be corrected instantly.
Of course, the convenience of using a PC over paper is massive. For word processing, spell check is an essential tool; no mistakes on contracts or legal documents is invaluable in the long run. Even simple things such as departmental memos and inter office communication appears alot more professional if everything is spelt correctly. It’s a basic concept, but it really does help businesses maintain their brand image of professionality.
For more complex uses of PCs in an office, the best examples are always spreadsheets and emails. Whereas before (when using paper as the main medium) people would have to use calculators and graph paper to make diagrams, now Excel and OpenOffice easily do it for you. This massive time saving is invaluable to any company, allowing fledgling businesses to speed up their processes, and established companies to streamline.
Email is another key staple of offices around the world, with instant communication to all staff available at the click of a button. The age old excuse of ‘I didn’t get the memo’ simply does not stand anymore, as emails are certain with delivery reports. Even communicating with customers can be automated, saving valuable man hours for any business.
It’s always important to remember that, once the PC is bought, set up, and connected to the internet, anything you do is basically free. Postage on letters to customers can add up fast, whereas emails are free. Saving on man hours is not only great for profit, but also means that any company can charge the customer less for their services, ultimately retaining clients better than before.
It’s almost unheard of for a business to not have an office computer, or for each staff member to have a computer. There are many reasons, but it’s simply cheaper, easier, and more reliable than using paper.