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Compliance vs. Complacency - Printing

Updated: May 28, 2020

We have gone paperless at home, why haven't we gone paperless at work?

In this Compliance versus Complacency article, I'm looking at our complacency with printing to paper. I started this article in early March, and the landscape of our working lives have changed so much so that we are having to be paperless because we are working at home. Once we are back to our regular corporate routines, it may be a good time to talk about becoming paperless at work.

Unfortunately, there are still some regulatory requirements that require printing and snail mailing documents. Regulatory requirements are especially true in the financial institutions space. However, I suggest that you still want you to question every process in which someone states, we then print the report (document, spreadsheet, etc.). In the words of one of my clients, "It is 2020 already; why are we still printing to paper?"

Is it a habit? Is it an age-related activity? For example, is it easier to see printed out than on the screen? Is the print to pdf step just a learning exercise? Based on past experiences, are we afraid we can't find the paperless data or that it will not be backed up? One retail client told me that they still print to paper because their customers want paper. However, a recent trip to a well-known retail store showed that they were transitioning to all e receipts before this current retail disruption.

Going paperless is not without its own risks. Making sure that data is secure and securely sent between departments and third parties is an integral part of transitioning to becoming paperless. Maintaining timely backups should be a routine part of any business in 2020, but going paperless requires reassurance to staff in regards to backing up data. Printing to binders is so 2010. Binders bear the additional risk of exposing PPI (protected personal information) risk, they take up space, and they keep us from being good stewards of the environment.

Finally, on a lighter note, while the current situation has many of us working from home and becoming paperless, the toilet paper shortage shows that we can't be paperless in all aspects of our lives. Stay safe and let me know in what other areas you think we have become complacent.

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