Not only does generating a paperless workplace help businesses save money and spend less, but it also puts them on the road to being more environmentally-friendly. If you are thinking about exchanging the file cabinets bursting with mountains of documents for a paperless system, but are not sure where to start, take a look at the following 10 steps to going paperless.
Going Paperless at Work
Share Files Digitally
Instead of relying on the printer to print off hordes of documents, share files with colleagues through digital methods, such as Google Docs. Furthermore, as this free service via Gmail continuously saves, work files will never get lost, unlike with a photocopier!
Nick Candito, co-founder and CEO of Progressly, told Small Business Trends of some key ways going paperless helps businesses. Speaking of ‘adherence’ and how digitalization improves working practices, Candito said:
“There’s no question that digitization improves collaboration. When everyone can access the essential documents and consistently collect the right information for the right person when it’s needed, you’re greasing the wheels of your intra-company communication engine.”
Store Files in the Cloud
Businesses of all sizes rely on paperwork, which soon mounts up to become hefty storage requirements. Instead of stuffing important paperwork into filing cabinets, store them conveniently on cloud-based systems, such as Dropbox. These paperless digital systems will save you incredible amounts of space in the office, not to mention will help keep vital documents safe.
Scan and Fax No More
Scanning and faxing documents requires the use of paper. Help your business be paperless by using a scanner app on your phone to scan documents. The saved documents can then be converted into PDFs and shared to colleagues via email.
Encourage Digital Communications
Encourage your workforce to adopt a culture of digital communication, whereby former paper-based methods of communication, such as mailing invoices and payslips, are replaced with digital methods like emails and instant messages.
Relying on digital communication instead of paper-based messages, will help save your business time. Candito notes, using digital instead of paper workflows allows management to “monitor your business and key collaborations in real time and with a view into analyzing bottlenecks to improve them and hence improve results.”
Swap Paper Bills and Statements for Digital Ones
Whether it’s energy bills, bank statements or contractor invoices, all businesses generate bills and statements. If your bills are still being created in paper form, simply ask for them to be sent digitally. Generally speaking, the likes of banks and other organizations prefer sending digital statements and mail, as it saves on printing and mailing costs.
Generate Digital Business Cards
Business cards, while essential, require substantial amounts of tree-guzzling paper. Instead of bulking out your wallet with a wad of business cards, digitize your business card. There is plenty of software and apps available, such as Pearl Scan and CamCard, which scan business cards and converts them into a digital document.
Use Electronic Signatures
Even our signatures can be signed electronically. Instead of having to print off a document, physically sign it with a pen and send it to a recipient, signatures can be signed electronically, meaning there is no need for time-consuming and costly paperwork. Abode Reader can be used to sign documents without having to print anything.
Such digital methods can help improve a business’s security. Candito says, “With digitized processes, identify governance and access controls ensure only the right people can access certain documents and systems.”
Sift and Sort Existing Paperwork
To successfully create a paperless office, you’ll need to ‘thin out’ some of the existing paperwork that may have been sitting in the office for the last 20 or even 30 years. Devote a morning, or longer, to sifting through old paperwork and determining what can be put through the shedder. Eliminating superfluous paperwork from the office will create more space, as well as being incredibly satisfying!
Make Meetings Paperless
Rather than giving out paper handouts at meetings, make use of projectors and technology that conveys the information you want to share from one visual source.
Train Staff to be More Digitally Savvy
A paperless business requires some digital know-how. From tasks like sending documents via email to using cloud-based systems to store files, if your workforce lacks digital acumen, investing the time and money into training them, is likely to prove to be a rewarding and invaluable long-term investment.
Candito says, being free of paper helps to optimize performance and a company’s bottom line, stating:
“Ultimately, what you’re shooting for in going paperless is an improved customer experience and hence an improved bottom line.
Throwing Paper Photo via Shutterstock