Your Guide to Creating a Paperless Office
We’ve all heard the buzz surrounding the concept of a “paperless office”, but there is a reason behind all of the hype. Going paperless comes with a myriad of benefits, and can be an easy process to implement with the right tools and know-how at your fingertips. As a result, more and more businesses are eliminating their paper consumption and turning to digital workflow tools to improve the way they conduct business.
As remote work becomes more prominent, now is the time to make the switch. Use this guide to make the process smooth for all stakeholders involved.
What is a paperless office?
Before we get into all of the benefits of a paperless office, it’s important to ensure you have an understanding of what exactly it entails. As the name suggests, a paperless office (also known as a paper-free office), operates predominantly without the use of physical paper. Instead, digital documents are used in their place. Using technologies such as workflow automation platforms, digital scanners and fax machines, and online file management systems, this is an attainable reality.
The key benefits of going paperless
As mentioned above, a paperless office can help your business increase its bottom line and nurture a more productive workplace. Some of the benefits of eliminating paper from your office include:
Going paperless saves admin an average of 11 hours per week. When it comes to getting documents signed, customers return digital documents 21x faster than their paper-based counterparts.
Improved client relationships
First impressions are everything, and going paperless is one way to leave customers feeling confident in choosing you. Businesses with automated paper processes are 4x more likely to be recommended to others by customers.
Whatever the industry your business operates is in, keeping company data and customer information secure is likely a top priority. Going paperless with the right software means you can fight back against lost or misplaced documents. Additionally, some digital workflow softwares are HIPAA and FERPA compliant to help your business stay within compliance.
The average business goes through 10,000 sheets of paper of year, leading to thousands of dollars spent on paper and printing costs each year. Close to 45% of these printed pages end up in landfills, creating a vacuum of waste and cost.
6 Tips to Make the Transition Easier
Making your paperless office a success requires the right know-how. Use these tips to help make your transition easier:
Review and digitize your process
The first step to take when going paperless is to review your entire business process from start to finish. Documenting these processes is a good idea, as you can use this as a roadmap to ensure no areas are left unaccounted for.
Choose the right workflow automation software (with all the right bells and whistles)
When you take paper-based documents digital, having the right software is imperative to eliminate gaps. When vetting options, check that your prospective platform meets your compliance and security measures, and has all of the features your business needs for success.
Choosing a platform with built-in eSignatures is ideal to eliminate physical signing for both clients and employees. Additionally, check for document storage to ensure your new paperless platform keeps records of documents sent and received.
Make printing less convenient
If printers are easily accessible, it’s likely that employees will continue to use them. Instead of having multiple printers in your office area or on an employee’s desk, pare it down to one centralized network printer so that it is less convenient to print.
Provide training to employees
Without the proper training, getting employee buy-in can be a massive hurdle. Designate a few hours to train employees on your new process, and provide digitally written guidelines they can refer to while they’re still getting started.
Enable digital technology
There are now a number of online fax services businesses can use in the place of traditional fax machines. Digital scanners are also useful, allowing employees to scan all paperwork for later reference and create digital forms.
Utilize digital storage systems
It’s time to say goodbye to filing cabinets. Partner with your IT team to set up network disks for employees to store documents. Once a network disk is set up and employees are given access, they can access documents from anywhere with proper log-in credentials. In the event of a disaster or remote work, this enables employees to stay productive with access to the files they need.
When making the decision to go paperless, spending a little more time upfront to train employees and find the right technology is well worth it. By taking the time to ensure a proper roll-out, you can save time, money, and most importantly, prevent employee frustration.
Ready to go paperless? OnTask is the workflow automation tool to help you do it. Start your free 14-day trial to see just how smooth your processes could be running.