May 21, 2014

The concept of a paperless business seems like common sense. In 2014, why would anyone still use an archaic medium like paper?

As many business owners have found, transitioning to a paperless office is easier said than done. Not only are the benefits of going paperless ambiguous for many people, but there is often no go-to process for doing so.

Benefits of Going Paperless in Business

Going paperless in business can:

  • Improve efficiency
  • Reduce costs
  • Secure important data

Paperless businesses benefit from streamlined operations and better time management. Employees are no longer forced to sift through filing cabinets full of old paperwork, or track down lost records in different areas of the office. Additionally, they will no longer have to use fax machines or leave their desks in order to send paperwork outside the organization.

Costs are also a factor, as paper not only costs money to print, but also to store. Filing cabinets take up a considerable amount of physical space that could otherwise be used for your business to grow into.

Saving data on a server or in the cloud is also more secure than storing paperwork in the office. Regardless of fireproof cabinets or anti-theft measures in place, going paperless eliminates the issue of security by backing up data in a de-centralized location, as well as encryption of documents.

Where to Go Paperless

Not every aspect of your business may have the ability to go paperless. For example, law firms still require heavy amounts of paper because the court system necessitates it. However, software solutions can eliminate the need for paper related to HR functions of the business. For example, payroll can be done automatically and paystubs can be emailed instead of printed. For businesses with large hourly workforces, a digital schedule can also impact the amount of paper consumed. Good scheduling software will have the ability to both email schedules to employees as well as make the schedule available on the web.

How to Do it

First and foremost, establish a process of transferring old files to the new digital system. It can be a tedious few days, but if employees are given a clear checklist of what to complete, frustration can be kept to a minimum. If a clear process is not established, staff may waste countless hours uploading documentation that could have been thrown away and recycled.

Once you have transferred old paperwork to a digital system, it is time to kick the paper habit for good. Going paperless in business means invoicing clients digitally, signing up for e-bills, and using CRM, HR, and other software to cut down on physical paperwork.