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In today’s environmentally conscious climate, people are getting wiser and more demanding, expecting companies to take immediate action on climate change. This poses a new challenge and opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to take a stand in this crisis and start thinking outside the box. Taking steps forward, almost 60% of Britain’s SMEs argue that sustainability has been incorporated into the core of their business, fundamentally reshaping their decision-making process.
So, in the era of digital transformation, what can you do, as a legal leader, to make your law firm more socially responsible?
Moving towards a paperless office would be a huge step forward allowing you to have a positive impact on the environment without compromising profitability. In fact, it can actually increase it!
And if you haven’t thought about this before, here are some shocking facts about paper usage that will make you see why going paperless isn’t just good for the planet and your reputation – it could also work wonders for your bottom line.
1. Paper materials account for the largest percentage of landfill waste – more than plastics, metals and yard trimmings
By staying adhered to paper-based practices, businesses produce negative cumulative effects on the environment, contributing to air and water pollution, massive deforestation as well as habitat loss and degradation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper products are the single largest contributor to landfill waste, accounting for 25% of the total municipal waste generation – and no, it doesn’t all get recycled.
As we speak, more than 199 tons of paper has already been produced and 64,476,000 litters of water has been wasted in the process. To make matters worse, it’s been estimated that almost half of the paper printed in office ends up in the trash by the end of the day. Now, with each tree taking about 100 years to grow and making only 17 reams of copy paper – around 8,500 sheets of paper – a question worth asking yourself is: How many trees does your law firm use every month?
2. Printer Ink costs more than a Chanel No. 5
Sometimes you stumble across statistics that you can’t believe they are real. This is definitely one of them. Were you aware that printer ink has been found to be more expensive per drop than a Chanel No. 5 or a Dom Perignon vintage champagne? While startling in itself, this statistic merely demonstrates how costly can the addiction to paper usage be for your law firm. Now, if you also consider that on average one office employee consumes around 10,000 sheets of paper every year - with 500 sheets costing around £10 - and you add in the cost of pens and printers, you can clearly see the financial cost of running your law firm with paper-based systems.
3. It costs you on average £16.00 to file and store a document
So, apart from the expenses associated with the use and maintenance of these systems, your law firm has to also take over the financial burden of managing and storing the paper files. And if you look at these estimations and take into account that every 12 filing cabinets require an additional employee to maintain, you will see that this extra cost isn’t really negligible.
4. The average employee spends 50% of his time in creating and preparing paper documents
Did you know that the average knowledge worker uses a fax machine, printer and copier more than ten times in a typical workday? And that he receives more than 10 attachments in the same period of time? In doing so, it’s been estimated that he makes approximately 61 trips per week to use these systems losing an average of 4 weeks each year due to workflow inefficiencies – searching for misfiled, untracked or lost documents. This point becomes more important if you consider that every misfiled document costs you roughly £100 in lost productivity.
5. 50% of SMEs could go out of business due to missing documents
According to the Gartner Group, a half of SMEs would get crushed within three years in case lost data could not be recovered within 24 hours. With the staggering majority of employees storing work-related documents on either their desktop and company server, or in paper filing cabinets, it wouldn’t be wise for you to underestimate the risk of this happening.
All these statistics demonstrate that going paperless is no longer the way of the future but rather a matter of urgency. Just think what your legal team would achieve if they were able to use the amount of productivity drained by these paper-based processes to level up their legal practice. Let alone, if you could get rid of these extra costs that make your bottom line suffer!
So, all that said, how can you make the transition to a paperless office?
Investing in the right case management software should be your first and foremost priority as it will help you create more office space that would be easier to organise, cheaper to maintain and safer, as your valid assets will always remain secured, even in case of a natural disaster.
At DPS, we offer a holistic software solution that enables you to run your business completely from your desktop with zero paper waste! By being ISO27001 accredited, our software follows the best practices of information security, allowing your legal team to securely send messages and case updates to your clients, share, store and backup sensitive information. With e-signatures being legally binding, our software also gives you the possibility to electronically sign a document with just a few taps saving you money, time and the environment since you no longer need to print out long documents for just a couple of signatures.
But that’s not all. Want to learn what your law firm can achieve with our DPS software? Get in touch with our knowledgeable team today.