When an office starts to consider going paperless – going paperless at the office – one of the first benefits sited is that they will be able to reduce the cost of purchasing paper to supply their office. What many businesses may not realize is that the true benefits of going paperless in an office far exceed just reducing printing costs.
Whether your office is limited on space or you simply have problems locating files and keeping things organized, going paperless in your office can create tons of benefits and increase productivity with just a few simple steps.
Decide if Your Office Can Go Paperless
The first step in going paperless is to decide if it’s even feasible for your office to do so. In many situations the best option is simply to reduce the amount of paper used rather than eliminating it completely.
The first challenge, of course, will be figuring out where to start. If your business requires detailed records for security reasons, it may be necessary to scan and store all of your existing paper documents. If you’re strictly storing vendor invoices and expense records, you may only need to scan and store certain documents and eliminate the rest of your storage. Whatever your decision, it is important to remember to set a date for all employees to discontinue the use of paper documents and begin using nothing but digital files.
You will need a workflow that will take paper, scan it, store it and make it available for others to see. To this point securing documents from prying eyes is of most importance. Scanning and storing digital copies of your documents without organization, rime or reason is just as bad, if not worst that throwing papers into an a box which can hold unlimited documents of any size,
Investing in Conversion and New Equipment
Going paperless at the office means investing in new equipment and begin converting all of your paper files to a digital format. We highly recommend this digital format be Adobe’s PDF format which has been around for a at least a couple of decades and is the de-facto standard with no significant challenger in sight.
There are companies in just about every major city that are experienced in making the change to a paperless office and depending on your budget, using an outside company may prove much more cost effective and can save you a lot of time. However, many smaller organizations, choose to purchase right hardware and software, and use the staff to take on the task. Just be a aware that it will take time.
We will cover our recommendations for hardware and software products that you choose to handle the process yourself. The document search and retrieval software is particularly important to locate any documents that you converted during the transition process as well as in the day-to-day operations
Decide of A Go-Time – Big day!
- The day your office will no longer mail out invoices and rather send them via email, or another service.
- The day you stop accepting paper invoices from vendors, and start storing them digitally from all of your vendors.
- The day you begin scanning and storing any new documents you receive, and digitally saving every document you produce..
You can start at anytime, it is a moment in time when you consciously begin the paperless lifestyle. Decision should accommodate for staff resistance, training and support for those who need.
One of the most common mistakes organizations make, is to think all of their documents need to be scanned prior to enable their paperless strategy. Although this may cause some challenges when searching for documents (as some will be physical and others will be digital), this is not necessary, as you can have a parallel effort, knowing that all newer documents will be digital.
Going Paperless Series include the following articles:
- Going Paperless Series: Welcome
- Going Paperless at Home/Office: Introduction
- Benefits of Going Paperless
- What To Go Paperless With
- Going Paperless at Home
- Going Paperless at the Office
- Paperless: Selecting a Digital Format
- Going Paperless Means Backups
- The Paperless Paradox
- Going Paperless Flowchart
- Going Paperless: Paper Waste Info Chart
- Going Paperless: Best Practices for Scanning then Shredding Paper Documents