When typewriters were first introduced, the improvement over hand-copying scrolls was overwhelming: Producing a page of text took a fraction of the time, everyone could understand the results, and scribes would no longer have to sacrifice decades of their lifespans (and, often, their eyesight) to the grueling task of copying. The very monks who copied ancient scrolls, however, actually opposed the upgrade; they were losing their way of life. The transition to paperless meetings is meeting with comparable resistance. Responsible stewardship, however, calls for making the switch. With the right software, paperless meetings save time and money while protecting the natural environment.
Public boards often consist of overworked executives who sit on several boards simultaneously. Their time is precious, and they expect it to be respected. Imagine flying across the country to get to a meeting early and finding everything disorganized when you walk into the room. The chair might say, “I meant to bring copies of the budget, but I left them at home this morning.”
High turnover is the price for keeping board meetings the one (and only) place where the clock seems to be turned back to the pre-digital era.
Paperless meeting software saves time in the following ways:
With robust infrastructure, paperless meetings save organizations lots of money over time. In the UK, the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) has been helping British municipal councils hold paperless meetings for more than five years. Savings have averaged 50,000 pounds (64,500 US dollars). Consider these cost savings:
Save the Environment!
Using no paper clearly saves trees. The transportation of materials for old-school meetings leaves its mark on the physical environment: Petroleum fuels the trucks that get mailed documents to their destinations – let alone the flights that send those documents beyond local addresses. Most board members travel extensively; the simple bulk of paper board packets adds considerably to the plane’s weight load. And that’s apart from emergencies: One company in London had to rush last-minute documents to a board member off the coast of Australia, so they sent a helicopter to drop all the papers. (Financial Times)
In addition to being the right thing to do, taking pro-environmental measures attracts young people who might not otherwise participate – the online agenda also pulls them in. Younger adults grew up terrified that the earth would become uninhabitable. Many of them took a pledge upon graduating from college that they would work only for organizations that are not damaging the environment. If you want to bring young blood into your group, the litmus test may be green.
Even More Benefits!
The benefits of paperless meeting software extend even farther. If you leave paper documents behind on an airplane or at a coffee shop, shady characters can get them and read them, whereas digital documents are protected by encryption if a laptop is stolen. Carrying heavy packets of paper is not worth the backache. Meetings themselves will feel calmer.
Paperless meeting software saves time, reduces costs and protects the environment. In our experience, boards that have made the switch never look back.
Advisory Board, “Paperless Meetings: Frequently Asked Questions”
Chandai, Wayne, “Paperless Meetings – It’s the Modern Way” ADSO.org, Dec. 3, 2017
Concisegroup.com, “Are Secure Paperless Meetings Possible?”
Stevenson, Alexandra, “Rise of the Paperless Meeting,” Financial Times April 9, 2012
Meetings Imagined, “Experience the Power of Paperless,” meetingsimagined.com