Transitioning to a paperless office is more than just an eco-friendly initiative; it can also result in huge cost-savings and greater efficiency. For example:
- It has been estimated that the US spends $460 billion in salaries just to manage paper-driven information overload.
- For every dollar spent on printing documents, companies incur another $6 in handling and distribution of the paper.
- Electronic sharing can cut off an average of four days of wait time in processing a document.
But in spite of the extensive advantages that a paperless office can afford, making the move from physical to digital takes a lot of time and effort, which many businesses are intimidated by.
In light of this, here’s how to ensure a smooth transition between the two.
Make paperless a company-wide initiative
47% of employees say that one of the top three reasons for not going paperless was a lack of management initiatives or mandates. Even if there is an appetite to switch, few people actually lead the way or provide the tools.
So in order to make a success of going paperless, make sure that it’s a company-wide initiative with buy-in from all departments, even if payroll still needs to send business checks. Set goals along the way to encourage everyone to be part of your digital revolution. If you lead by example, more people are likely to follow.
Organize your existing paper footprint
Once you’ve drawn a line in the sand and decided to go paperless, it’s time to get your hands dirty by organising any existing paper documents and files. First and foremost, create a unified system and ensure everyone abides by it.
It’s a good idea to determine an “expiration date” for documents to reduce the workload, which can be divided between departments to make things easier. You may also want to set a deadline for each department’s documentation to be organised by. Then when it is time to send physical documents to their new home in the cloud, no department will be left behind.
Choose the right software/service
Fears over cloud security are somewhat baseless these days, so you can rest assured that sensitive and confident information will be kept safe no matter what. The only issue you might run into is choosing the right software or service to host your documentation given the numerous options available.
Conduct some research and compare what’s on offer according to your business and its requirements. Think about the tools you need – for example the ability to collaborate, unlimited number of documents, universal access etc – and consider what would be beneficial in the future.
Encourage your clients, suppliers and vendors to do the same
Even if your business starts reaping the rich rewards of going paperless, every other organisation you deal with might be living in the past. Therefore, tell your clients, suppliers and vendors about your transition with encouragement to do the same.
From signing contracts electronically and sending them online instantly to sharing documents for easier communication and collaboration, everyone stands to benefit from going paperless – or as paperless as possible.