COVID-19 Raises New Health Concerns About the Use of Paper in the Office

Paperless Solutions

Whether as an individual, a business, or an enterprise, there are already innumerable reasons to reduce or eliminate your reliance on paper. Paper can be harmful to the environment, inefficient in the office, and incompatible with the global shift towards digital business. However, despite virtually every sign indicating that the time to go paperless has arrived, another argument against the use of paper for business has materialized seemingly out of nowhere: COVID-19.

A Paperless Office Can Help Prevent Transmission

In a world where readily available cleaning supplies kill 99.99% of viruses and bacteria, it’s easy to grow complacent when it comes to actively managing and improving your office sanitation plan. With the threat of the coronavirus looming overhead, now is a great time to re-evaluate your strategy so you can limit transmission once the economy has reopened.

That means more than restocking your cleaning supply closet and doubling down on hand sanitizer, it means taking the necessary steps to facilitate a paperless office that all but eliminates unsanitary filing and other processes that require the direct handling of paper. By researching paperless solutions today, you can begin to deploy a manageable, cost-efficient plan when Americans return to work.

Journal of Hospital Infection: Viruses Can Survive on Paper for Up to Five Days

An office is one of the most susceptible environments to contagious viruses. Individuals work closely together, sharing office supplies and engaging candidly as they solve problems. Taking a direct, hands-on approach to tackling business challenges is always an effective strategy; however, it also weakens your defenses against transmission.

The Journal of Hospital Infection studied several strains of coronaviruses and tested their longevity on inanimate surfaces. On paper, viruses were found to survive for as long as five days or as little as five minutes. In other words, paper poses a potential risk for transmission. If a sick worker prints a document and passes it to other employees, the virus could spread. If the virus is able to survive for five days and the document requires several reviews or approvals, the effect on an office could be devastating for employee health and business continuity.

There are other office supplies that support paper use and pose a threat, too. Cardboard filing or shipping boxes (24 hours), hard plastic copiers and other office supplies (2-3 days), and metal cabinets or file storage (5 days) also pose a threat for transmission. There’s no need for these items in a paperless environment, which means fewer surfaces are touched by employees.

Paperless Solutions for a Smooth Return to Work

Americans across the country are eager to get back to work. It’s up to businesses to ensure that, when they do, they have everything they need to work safely and efficiently. In a paperless office, they can do both. A paperless office is faster, more efficient, and less error-prone. It ensures that business-critical documents are always accessible and within reach at the touch of a key while eliminating human error and redundancies that reduce your bottom line.

If you want your business to continue to grow once the COVID-19 crisis has subsided, supporting a paperless environment is the first step. Once all your documents are stored in a secure digital repository (think of it as a centralized HUB for your enterprise information) you can take advantage of several other benefits including business process automation, remote content management, and no code workflow management (on no-code platforms). Considering the bevy of reasonable arguments against the use of paper, it really comes down to two questions: Why do you still rely on paper? How can we help?


IntelliChief stands by businesses affected by the coronavirus, which is why we are actively supporting those that recognize the value of a paperless office as one aspect of their plan to beat the virus and come out stronger than ever before. Please contact us today with any questions or to learn more about how we have been helping businesses maintain continuity during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.