Reliance on paper is leaving retail sector open to compliancy disasters

In Industry Comment, Industry News On
- Updated

One in ten retailers are putting themselves at risk of huge compliance and legal issues by over relying on paper-based processes, new research has found.

A survey of 1,000 workers, conducted by WorkMobile, found that the retail sector has seen the most accidents happen due to a reliance on paper-based health and safety documents, compared to other sectors including IT, law and education. 10% of staff in the retail sector have seen accidents occur due to workers not being provided with the appropriate safety information, resulting in procedures not being followed and injury to employees.

Aside from injury to staff, an over-reliance on paper is also leaving businesses open to huge losses. A fifth of workers within businesses across the UK have seen extremely important documents lost or misplaced, which has then resulted in legal disputes or compliancy issues. This includes confidential documents being left lying around, rather than stored safely, and also copies of signed contracts being lost.

20% have witnessed vital documents and information incorrectly filed, which has led to major financial losses within the business.

Relying on paper isn’t making the job of working efficiently and compliantly any easier for staff, with over half (53%) finding it hard to store and keep paper files organised. 43% also think that it takes too long to properly fill in paper forms, and almost a third (30%) feel they are spending too much time sending documents to the correct recipients.

WorkMobile chief support officer Colin Yates said: “With technology now so readily available for businesses to adopt and modernise their working practices, it is surprising to see that so many are still relying on paper. Ultimately, it is putting businesses at serious risk of financial losses, and also possible legal action, but more worryingly, it is also putting employees in danger.

“The issue with paper documents is that they can be easily damaged, but they can also be lost, meaning that important documents could be misplaced or misused. This could lead to customer information ending up in the wrong hands, or incorrect stock levels being recorded, leading to a shortfall in stock and financial losses to the business.

“Implementing technology, such as mobile devices and the cloud, can help to eliminate the need for physical paperwork, meaning that these vital pieces of information can be stored securely online and can be accessed in a few clicks. In the search for greater compliancy, adopting the latest innovations can help retailers secure their businesses’ futures and safeguard the wellbeing of staff.”

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