The Paperless Office Should Embrace E-Signature

Mary Ellen Power, December 30, 2013

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of the death of paper have been circulating for so long that it sometimes seems hard to reconcile the fact that the medium still exists. However, there is a growing body of evidence that supports the long-held theory that less paper in the office environment is a natural progression towards greater efficiency and cost savings, and adopting electronic signatures is one of a number of logical steps.

In recent years, the digitalization of the workplace has been concentrated making employee interaction less reliant on physical evidence. There are a plethora of applications that allow workers to collaborate on projects without the need for paper, with companies such as Google extolling the virtues of sharing online documentation as opposed to the perpetuation of paper that characterized the offices of the last century.

At the same time, the workforce itself has become more mobile, with staff members often not even in the same city let alone the next cubicle, and this has ensured that the documentation approval process has had to adapt accordingly. E-signatures are now widely used throughout a variety of industries that would be traditionally associated with producing physical copies, and thanks to paperless technology, companies can now process required documentation in a more efficient manner.

Electronic Signature

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The Logical Option
While it may seem to be a recent innovation, using an e-signature solution is fast becoming the preferred option for business leaders, especially when it comes to providing a secure method of capturing acceptance. Away from the office, consumers are already used to providing an electronic John Hancock to sign off on insurance or mortgage applications, while the virtualization of shopping has allowed for purchases to take place in a non-physical environment.

Electronic signature can be employed in the office with a minimum of worker adjustment. If we consider that most people use technology such as e-mail on a daily basis, integrating a digital paper trail into regular working practices is just the next step. Receiving external documentation from other parties has been an accepted business practice since the invention of the fax machine, and while it is still available in the workplace, digital versions of that form of agreement are widely used and accepted as legal documentation. 

Going paperless, however, is not solely about putting faith in a digital copy, but more an acceptance that the pace of business life has evolved to suit the technology available. Electronic signature allows office workers to deal with their daily routine in an efficient manner, and while the world is not paperless yet, the writing may be on the wall.

For more information as to how an office environment can benefit from e-signatures, please download Understanding E-Signatures: A Beginner's Guide