Offices have become increasingly paperless over the last few years. Being able to go about daily business, ranging from HR tasks to invoicing, without any physical paper records can streamline your business activity (aside from the decrease in paper usage - the planet will thank you for it!). Going paperless can save money and boost efficiency - this is why we've compiled this short guide to creating a paperless office environment.
A paperless office - explained
A paper-free office describes a work environment in which either no or very little paper is used for daily business operations. The advancement of digital documents over paper documents has boosted the concept of a paperless office. Innovations like e-mail, electronic document management, and signatures have made it possible to have a business that practically runs without the use of paper. Of course, some aspects, such as presentation handouts or receipts, are still often printed in paper-based processes.
Advantages of paperless work environments
Of course, the obvious advantage is to save paper and therefore protect the environment. Having less or no paper as part of your business operations reduces the CO2 emissions. Going paperless also comes with economic benefits. Using a lot of paper comes with a significant cost compared to a paperless process. Also, storing less paper might mean you can save on office furniture or even space.
Having paperless document management systems can also streamline work processes and increase efficiency. Files might be easier to access and team members might communicate more efficiently. Also, paperless processes can help increase the security of your files. It is less likely for files to be destroyed in filing cabinets and access can be restricted more efficiently. Disaster recovery is also likely to be easier with digital files.
Paperless offices have become a genuine possibility around the globe. Even if you still have some paper files, even just having the majority of your work paperless can create a better working environment.
To get started, it can be helpful to look at your current paper needs. You can conduct an audit of what is currently needed in your paper-based systems to work out the potential savings if you went paperless. You can then start moving to cloud-based applications (eg have electronic documents on Google Docs or store files on a document management system like Dropbox). Of course, you then have to get your staff up to speed on the paperless system. It is crucial to offer proper training and ideally even incentives for your staff printing fewer documents. Any incoming documents could be scanned, in case customers or sellers have not gonna paperless, and store them electronically. And finally, your office is likely to need some updates following the implementation of your paperless office strategy. You could eg invest in dual monitors so that your employees can work on multiple documents at the same time.