7 Tips On How You Can Go Paperless In Your Office
The world produces more than 300 tons of paper. The introduction of computers made it easy for office setups to go paperless.
Not only does the paperless transition save space devoted to the storage of files, but it also aids in environmental conservation. Paperless office technology and tools are widely available, and they save money.
The papers are supplied to all office environments for printing and writing purposes. This figure is alarming, especially when you consider that the cost of production is very high and the documents lead to environmental pollution.
Is It Possible for All Businesses to Go Paperless?
Most business can’t go completely paperless since they need to protect their legal documents and necessary contracts.
However, most documents such as receipts, business cards, and bills can be scanned and stored electronically for future reference. They can also be shared online to save money and time.
With the latest online apps and technology, it’s possible to cut out excess paper usage in our offices. Check out these top 7 tips to transition to the paperless business environment.
1. Initiate the Process
Essentially, most employees are willing to go to a paperless office. The only thing that holds them back is the lack of proper management initiative. They can only operate a paperless office when they are given the go-ahead and the right tools.
So, to go paperless in your office, take the initiative and lead the way. Your employees will copy from you.
Start by researching online on how to make the best paperless transition. Look also for the businesses that have already done the change and learn from them on how to go paperless.
Once you get the idea of where you should start, set goals for your different business departments to encourage the transition. You can also set a reward initiative aimed to encourage the employees who participate in the efforts.
The key thing to note here is to lead by example. If you have filing cabinets where you store your documents, transition them into an electronic system.
2. Get Your Staff on Board
You can be an excellent example to your employees but fail to have the transition if you don’t ensure that your employees are on board.
How can you involve your employees in the plan?
- Inform your employees about your new decision. Show the benefits of having the transition and demonstrate how the paperless office will make their work easier. Mention to them that the change will save time and efforts.
- Address the compliance concerns- finance and legal departments are the most resistant to change, due to the sensitivity of their documents. To help them change minds, inform them that the electronic system will be more secure, and will help them to be more compliant.
- Show them how the transition will help customers- most consumers today prefer the electronic data storage systems as compared to the traditional filing system. A customer is the first essential element of a business and your employees will, therefore, be delighted to make a change for the sake of the clients.
3. Discourage Paper Use
Now that both you and your employers are aware of the benefits of the transition, start the new process immediately by reducing the paper usage. To achieve this, track the number of pages that every worker prints in the office and generate a monthly report. Find new ways that can reduce that number of printed papers, and also look for alternative ways.
Secure your printers using passcodes and also put a limit on the number of papers which should be printed per day. You can also reduce the convenience of printing by minimizing the number of printers in your office.
Consolidate the printers into one low-end machine at a central location. Without printers on each desk, employees will reduce their printing habits. Encourage your employees to take digital notes- paper notes are the primary source of papers in the office. With the range of high note taking apps available today, your employees should no longer take notes using them.
The electronic apps are more organized, and they ensure that the notes do not get lost easily. Inform them about the apps and make it compulsory to use the apps.
The general note-taking apps are Google Keep, Ever Note, Simple Note, and the Microsoft OneNote. Be creative as much as possible to limit all the exercises which require employees to print more papers.
Also, make a conscious effort to pay your bills online, as this will reduce the number of papers you use on receipts.
4. Support Paperless Infrastructure
Now that you have discouraged the use of paperwork, get the right infrastructure to support the idea. There are many digital documents management systems that you can use to ensure that your office remains paperless.
To start, look for a professional to make you a list of all the digital equipment you require. Be sure to research on the best digital planning apps and then compare the options before you make the final decision.
The equipment you need should depend on your amount of storage, data backup requirements, audit logs, number of user accounts, and automation.
Here are some of the crucial software tools, pieces of hardware and services that you need to replace the paper filing system:
- Dual or multi-monitor setup- workers print documents to cross-reference them. If you set up a multi-monitor workstation, you will reduce the need to print every time. Also, consider the LCD monitors as they last longer than computer upgrades.
- Cloud storage – it allows you to have quick access to your important documents anytime you want them, provided that you have a reliable internet connection. The cloud also protects your documents from getting damaged or losing your information.
The large scale businesses print many papers per day. With the online cloud sharing apps, employees can reduce their printing frequency.
If possible, use the Fresh Books website to pay your employees. It is a cloud-based accounting solution which allows business owners to create invoices. It also helps them to track the expenses they incur without having the manual calculations.
5. Get Started Right Away
Start your transition immediately when you get the right equipment. Since your employees are already trained on how to use the software, allow them to scan and file documents electronically with the vendor scanner selection.
This is also the best moment for you to watch the performance of your employees with new tools. To enhance efficiency, use the first two weeks to input details of the already existing documents to the computers.
Start filing your taxes electronically. To file up for your federal taxes, go to the Electronic Deferral Tax Payment System and sign up. The service is free and will save you time. To get the account, you will require your taxpayer’s identification number, name and address, routing numbers, and bank account.
6. Tell Your Clients and Service Providers to Share Electronically
Once you have switched to digital planning and management, you can’t stop there yet.
Let all your shareholders, clients, and service providers know that you have made a switch. If possible, send emails addressing security concerns and highlight all the benefits they will get from the transition.
Also, make sure that they are familiar with the electronic version you decide to use. Answer all the questions and consider their opinions.
A crucial step when going paperless is to introduce your clients and suppliers to the electronic signatures. This will help your company to be more organized and consistent with the paperless system.
7. Be Consistent
Your plan will only be successful if you maintain discipline in following the new rules.
To achieve this, get rid of all the traditional paper filing systems and tools so that your employees stick to the electronic method only. They will probably be tempted to keep using the documents if they will still be kept around.
Also, ensure that your computers and electronic tools are regularly checked. They should also be taken good care of considering that they can easily be hacked and put your clients’ information at risk of cyber theft.
Finally, move your marketing strategies online. Email marketing is less costly than the direct mail campaign. On top of the email, you can use social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter Instagram, and interest to market your products and get rid of the envelopes and magazines.
It’s normal to feel vulnerable when you know that you don’t have hard copy backups for the information you keep in your cloud. If that’s the case, buy an external drive and transfer the essential documents on to it.
Also, sign up for a second cloud-based system for backup purposes. This way, you will have multiple protection means just in case one computer crashes or one of the cloud servers fails.
So, don’t waste time, start your journey to a paperless office now! You might need to seek the help of an expert to walk you through the process for effective results.