You might be wondering why some companies and offices still use paper documentation. It indeed has various disadvantages. For example, paper documentation takes a lot of physical storage space. In addition, the volume of paper files only increases by the day. Let’s try to understand why the paper documentation system still persists today by looking at its advantages and disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Paper Documentation
Paper documentation is difficult to maintain. In many cases, it’s challenging to collect and retrieve them because they can get misplaced or lost in a pile. In addition, they are prone to damage. For example, paper is sensitive to chemicals and exposure to external pollutants. Don’t forget that print and writing can be affected by humidity and light. Of course, the most common culprits to paper documentation damages are rodents, insects, and molds.
It’s also difficult to send and transport them. It can take days, weeks, and months, depending on where the recipient is. Not only that, but it can be expensive to send them. There’s also difficulty in making necessary corrections to errors.
Despite all of its disadvantages, the paper documentation system is still relevant because, first of all, it’s more affordable than a high-end electronic recording system. Many factors contribute to the high cost of these systems.
For example, electronic programs and facilities take time to research, develop, and get introduced to the market. You’re paying not only for the private company and their patent but also for the involvement of the government. Companies offering electronic recording systems have to pass numerous regulations and certifications. In many cases, there are considerable risks to tackle, too.
Many companies and organizations still use paper documentation because of the ease of using a familiar format. For centuries, paper has been the most prevalent primary medium of communication and recording. Paper records are physical, and many people find it easier to find information from them. In comparison, many electronic recording systems can lag or have slow processing times.
In addition, you have to train employees and associates or hire a specialized expert to handle electronic recording systems. It’s also easier to make corrections or customize a paper file.
Given that many businesses still prefer paper documentation, they need to know the steps to ensure that paper files are safe and free from damage.
Tips in Protecting Paper Documentation
The first thing you need to do is to keep paper files organized. You want to optimize your storage, so make sure to arrange the files. Store them in environments that are cool, dry, and dark. Watch out for humidity and heat, too, because these factors can degrade the paper.
When paper degrades, they become moldy and brittle, and the text could start fading. You may also notice that the color turns yellowish. This is a classic sign of acid deterioration caused by heat, humidity, light, and chemical pollution.
You also need to prevent certain agents from causing paper deterioration and destruction. The first thing you need to consider is oxidation. This involves the process of natural decay in the air that negatively affects organic materials, including paper. It’s a long process, but it is the prime cause of the pollution and destruction of paper files.
Watch out for dust and dirt because these also cause damage to paper files. They also attract insects and rodents that can chew on the paper. In addition, be prepared for fire, floods, hurricanes, and other calamities.
Invest in good-quality archival containers made of steel. This material is recommended because it’s durable. It would be best to choose rust-resistant stainless steel, too. You need to invest in good storage equipment. These should be of the proper size to accommodate piles of files and withstand the paper’s weight, too. In addition, you might want to build enclosures to contain your boxes and folders.
Good housekeeping is essential to making sure that the paper files are well protected. Cleaning dust and dirt from the containers is an excellent way to maintain their integrity. Remove any dangerous components, such as corrodible metallic items like pins, paper clips, and staples.
Train your employees and associates to handle paper files properly. You should have a policy or a standard operating procedure on collecting, storing, and retrieving files. The purpose is to make sure that the quality of the paper and the print are not compromised. You might want to invest in quality paper filing consumables to organize and protect your documents.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to using paper file documentation. Going electronic may not always be the best option for every company. That’s why it’s essential to understand the value of maintenance and protection when protecting relevant, meaningful, and sensitive information.