You might have heard of the concept of going ‘paper-free’ or paperless at your business, but you might not really understand what it entails or how it could benefit your company.
There are many advantages to reducing your dependence on paper documents and moving towards a fully digital back-office system. Digital documentation is easier to manage, search and store, potentially saving your company a lot of time and money.
It reduces the amount of space that you need for physical storage and helps to streamline often complex processes that have many steps. That is before we even get on to the huge environmental ramifications and the positive impact that your company can have from an ecological perspective.
So, here we take a look at how you can take your business paper-free.
Get the whole team on board
The first thing to note about becoming a paper-free business is that you need to get everyone in the company on board with the idea. This goes from the directors right down to the junior members of staff – if employees don’t understand why the need to start minimising their use of paper, they won’t be able to break out of old habits.
It is important to avoid forcing the idea out of nowhere. Every business is different and going paper-free will have specific challenges relating to your company.
It is a great idea to have an open forum and discussion about why it is a good idea to move towards digital systems, and to get ideas and opinions from staff on the best ways to implement this, as well as any potential drawbacks that they see.
Digitise your documentation
You need to take the plunge and have all of your current physical documentation converted to a digital format. You do have the potential option to manage this yourself, but this can be a complex and time-consuming effort. It is generally a much better idea to work with a business than specialises in digesting documents.
Using state-of-the-art equipment, a company like Document Options can take care of all of your digitising needs. Working quickly, efficiently and completely in line with your specific needs and requirements, this is almost always a faster and more cost-effective option.
Invest in technology
It is important to invest in the right technology to ensure that your move to a paper-free office runs smoothly. For example, you might find that you need to have tablets or other hand-held personal devices available in the office for business use. These can come in handy in meetings and similar situations.
Additionally, if you are going to be manually scanning in documents, you will need high-quality software for that. Although, as we have discussed above, it can actually make a lot of sense to have this managed for you by a company specialising in digital documentation.
Find alternatives to printing
Unnecessary printing can often be the scourge of the paper-free office. Even when you have gotten used to the idea of digital documentation, many employees fall back into old habits of printing off emails, agendas for meetings, and other documents. It’s a great idea to look for alternative options to allow staff to move away from printing.
We have talked about the possibility of using tablets – these can be ideal for meetings or any time you need to provide information.
Another important element of finding alternative solutions to printing is simply making digital documents as accessible and user friendly as possible. For example, making sure that all your business documents are in the same format.
Request it from suppliers and partners
Ultimately, you can only run a paper-free business if your suppliers and partners are also willing to work without paper. For many organisations, digital invoices, contracts and other documents are the norm, but for others, many will still work with physical documentation as their main medium.
Of course, this may well not be possible in all cases. Some businesses are stuck in their ways and won’t offer the option for digital-only paperwork yet. In this case, the question becomes: how can you digitise the paper documents that you receive?
Working with data capture and document scanning specialists can be a really good as idea, as professionals in the industry are placed best to advice you on what is right for your business.
If you are looking to reduce your use of paper in the office, or you would like to learn about the process of digitising any aspect of your business, the team at Document Options would be happy to help. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today and we can answer any questions or queries that you have.