Save the Trees: Why your HR Department Should Go Paperless

Though advanced technology has only truly taken over the workplace at the turn of the 21st century (or arguably later), it’s already almost impossible to remember working in an office where faxing was more common than emailing, and where contracts being signed by hand instead of electronically was the norm. But there are still aspects of countless businesses which are running less efficiently than they could do in the modern age. While we’re still adapting our workforce to be the best it can be with every passing second, there are still areas for improvement – and one of those areas is the continued and excessive use of paper in a world which could (and should) go paperless.

Why Resist Change?

As is the case with every other significant change to the way we work, many employees and companies are yet to go paperless due to the hassle of the initial transition period. HR is one of the industries where staff find this change understandably daunting, as HR departments have long been correctly known as paperwork-heavy.

Transitioning to a paperless HR department requires investment in software and office equipment, training, and a general change to the manner in which work is carried out. But I’m here to tell you that it really isn’t all that bad and that it’s much better to go paperless, embrace the digital age and grow with it, instead of being left behind and ending up lost in an unnavigable maze of towering, papery despair.

Paperless Positives

The actual figures related to the cost of still using paper in HR are, quite frankly, staggering. The cost of inefficient work due to paper-use is in the trillions in the US alone, and a single company could save millions through adapting to a paperless manner of working. And, money aside, having immediate access to all company documents and files through an online database saves an almost unbelievable amount of time for HR employees who still need to sift through physical folders, files, and cabinets, often just to find a single-page file.

So, in summary, the benefits of going paperless include saving money, reducing unnecessary employee workload (and, by extension, stress and unhappiness), creating a more efficient and faster-running workplace, and being more organized with any and all important documents on a day-to-day basis. All that’s left to do now is, well… do it.

Lead by Example

Employees can’t just be expected to make this change themselves. Often, some or all departments in a company are linked in some way, and changing how one department works often means changes for another too – and HR is generally linked to all departments, as it touches upon just about every aspect of a company’s performance, from payroll to employee welfare. If HR can make the change (which it has been doing) then other departments can too – but it’s down to team leaders and company owners to take the first steps towards implementing this change, showing those who work for them that it needn’t be feared and that it’s actually a positive and much-needed adjustment.

So, whether you do it save money, time, or the trees we keep unjustifiably chopping down, try and make sure that evolving your HR department into a paper-free one is a goal for 2019. Mother Earth herself will thank you for it.