It’s 2021 and Mother Earth would love every office out there to go paperless, but unfortunately, many companies are stuck in the wasteful ways of paper processes. The sad truth is that paper-based practices aren’t only hurting the environment, but they are preventing your business growth, as well.
Successful businesses know that a paperless office contributes to increased productivity, better organization, clearer cash flow visibility, and stronger security. If you’ve been tossing around the idea of transitioning to a paperless office, then you’re on the right track, but it’s time to put those goals into action.
Here are some concrete steps for creating a paperless office that will set your company up for long-term growth.
The Case For a Paperless Office
Many companies and employees may be opposed to abandoning their paper files, but the case for a paperless office is strong. Paper seems to have a hold on humans that might feel comfortable because it is what we’ve been used to for years, but paper processes are holding you and your business back.
The benefits for going paperless outnumber any of your arguments to hoard those paper documents, but here are just a few reasons to be paper-free:
- More office space- Going paperless will give you more office space than you knew you had. Overstocked filing cabinets can be replaced with a nice new coffee machine and your cluttered desk will be a distant memory.
- You will actually be able to locate documents- Searching for that one paper document in a poorly organized and overstocked office wastes valuable time and productivity. Digital documents are much easier to locate with a simple search.
- Faster business processes- Transferring physical documents via mail or by hand is slow. In the 21st century, business processes move quickly because digital files take seconds to transfer rather than days.
- Less paper waste- A paperless environment saves the trees and minimizes mounting landfills that are killing our planet. Consider your office’s environmental impact and commit at least cutting down on your paper consumption.
- Better security- A paper shredder may destroy a piece of paper with sensitive information, but what about all those other legal documents and vulnerable paper records that are floating in cabinets or on desks? Digitizing documents allows you to limit access to files with sensitive internal documents so you can ensure top security.
- Digital transformation is the future of business- Advancements in technology and digital solutions have allowed businesses to grow and scale at a faster rate than ever before. The future of business relies on digital transformation in every area of operations. Paper processes are too slow and outdated for a modern workplace.
Now that you know why your company should ditch inefficient, paper-based business processes and transition to a paperless environment, here are some concrete steps for creating a paperless office that will set your company up for long-term growth.
Assess Your Paper Usage
The first step in transitioning to a paperless work environment is to assess your paper usage. Where is your company using paper processes?
Digitally document what areas of your business are using paper practices, then evaluate your paper usage. If your business is using paper documents for procedures in every department, then you have quite a project on your hands.
The good news is that once you go paperless in one department, it will be far easier for you to continue the transition in each area of your business operations. You can always start small and work your way into a completely paperless workplace, so choose an area to focus on first if the whole project seems too daunting.
Clean Out and Digitize Your Paper Files
After you assess your paper usage, it’s time to digitize those paper files so you can clean out your workspace.
Cloud-based storage solutions like Enterprise Content Management (ECM) offer digital filing and paperless storage in a centralized location. Paperless documents can be easily located through a simple search bar feature and they can be organized with the touch of a button. Your employees will be relieved when they realize that they no longer need to dig through messy filing cabinets to find that one paper form.
Digital document management systems also offer heightened document security with controlled access features. Gone are the days of a paper trail that poses security risks to your company.
Cloud storage solutions also provide easy file sharing options with electronic signature features. Electronic documents and forms can be signed with e-signatures to avoid wasteful printing and slow physical hand-offs.
As you scan paper files into your digital storage system, you can shred and recycle those paper copies and free up your workspace from clutter while benefiting from a stronger organization system.
Automation Software for Paperless Workflows
Automating your workflows is another paperless office strategy that will speed up your business procedures. Paper processes and manual data entry are slow habits of the past. Automation software offers a paperless workflow that is faster, more cost-efficient, and more accurate.
You can implement automation software into your company’s accounts payable department and HR department to automate common business practices like invoice processing and onboarding new employees. AP automation software and HR automation software will give your employees a much-needed break from slow manual processes and important files are made more secure as electronic documents.
Talk to your company’s IT department about implementing paperless options and digital tools like AP automation software, HR automation software, and a digital document management system like ECM.
Your IT employees will be able to help you choose the right digital filing systems for your company and guide you towards the top providers for your needs. Make some time to meet with your company’s different departments to discuss transitioning to a paper-free office and work together to determine the best strategy for your unique business.
Paper-based processes are on their way to extinction, while digital transformation provides paperless office solutions for lasting business growth. Your entire company has the potential to be paper-free by implementing smart technology that will run your business better and faster than ever before.
Contact Us today to learn more about how we can help you transition to a paperless office.