[This month’s series looks into the hidden costs of maintaining paper files compared to an all-digital document management system. If your small business or department employs ten office workers, how much do physical folders cost you annually? The amount may surprise you.]
So far in our cost analysis of manila-folder-style filing, annual expenses include office space ($4200) and paper and printing ($5600). That’s a considerable chunk of change right there for a small staff, but these sums together do not even surpass the biggest office expense involved with paper files.
Walking to the file cabinet?
On the face of it, walking to the file cabinet seems insignificant, but if you add up the inefficiencies of using paper files, you find an enormous drag on productivity.
If it takes five minutes for a $20/hour employee to get up from a desk, find the appropriate file cabinet, and locate the folder he or she needs – and does this maybe five times a day – then that’s over 100 hours per year spent filing.
By contrast, a company-wide electronic document management system brings up the desired document instantly.
If you double the five minutes to put each file back in its proper place, then it’s about $4000 in wages per person, per year. If you have a staff of ten employees, the cost is roughly $40,000.
That’s one employee’s worth of salary devoted — literally — to shuffling paper.
Total costs of routine labor………………………………..$40,000
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