Thinking of going paperless? Maybe not a new idea. But in light of COVID-19, it’s a great time to reconsider it. More and more businesses are moving towards a paperless workplace nowadays. Minimizing physical contact is definitely a mandate in most businesses right now. By developing a modern, contactless system you won’t just optimise business recovery, but might ultimately save lives.
There are so many reasons to go paperless: it minimises expenses, improves business efficiency with digital tools and cloud storage, saves time and the cute rainforest animals, increases accountability, decreases waste and clutter, creates a more sustainable workplace and helps your business deliver great customer service. And last but not least, is avoiding that scary Coronavirus.
Simply put, going paperless is going to save time, money, the environment, and lives.
Virus transmission risk reduction. With evidence that coronavirus can live for a period of time on paper surfaces, it's likely that the habit of using and passing around paper forms or documents will become a thing of the past.
Accessibility. A document cloud allows you to access files from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Fast, efficient, convenient!
Reduced overhead costs. That’s a lot of wasted money spent on paper, ink, filing cabinets and storage rooms. With all the paper you won’t be using and filing away, you might even downsize your office space, saving money and boosting productivity.
Improved security. If you store your documents digitally, you can secure them behind authentication gateways and ensure simple backup and recovery.
Time efficiency. Data that is stored digitally is both indexable and searchable. No more looking through filing cabinets and stacks of paper to find the right information!
Improved customer experience. Now that you can find quickly and simply the right information in your digital files, you can reduce your response times and spend more time building relationships.
Environmental sustainability. Reducing paper waste in your office means reducing your office’s impact on the environment. Future generations will thank you for it!
A professional and tech-savvy look. A paperless business will increase professionalism and catch the eye of clients. Documents are handled properly, and transactions are smooth and quick. This is the kind of look you want to have!
With any major change, there are going to be pitfalls. Creating a paper-free office is an ongoing process, one which should be adapted and perfected over time. A few things to consider:
Security Risks And Viruses. So, we reduce the risk of a physical virus and increase the risk of a digital virus. Ironic, right? Firstly, make sure to choose a secure platform as your base for going paperless. Secondly, make sure your employees are aware and on the lookout for cyberattacks via email and other mediums. Overall, however, going paperless is way more secure at the end of the day, especially in terms of data-loss prevention and backups.
Privacy & Legal Issues. When collecting information on your users, clients or even your own employees, make sure you are covered and compliant with all digital privacy laws (GDPR, FTC, COPPA, GLBA, FACTA) at all times.
Software Maintenance. Most platforms do require maintenance, so keep this in mind as you may have to have a current employee pivot into this kind of role, or even to hire a new employee.
Initial Costs. Make sure to go with a cost-effective option to ensure the sustainability of your paperless solution. Gradually going paperless can also help spread these costs over time, making them less impactful.
Going paperless can be a daunting challenge, but don’t lose hope. By taking advantage of available online tools and software, a paperless office is possible!
Do it systematically, not all at once! It’s best to choose a small part of your business and start the process there. Every little bit counts! Here are a few simple ways to reduce paper waste:
Store all files in the cloud using OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. It allows you to access all your files remotely and reduces clutter.
Switch to internal communication tools such as Microsoft Teams instead of using post-it notes. These tools can track conversations between team members and helps ensure transparency.
Sign documents digitally using DocuSign, Adobe Sign or DocHub. This helps you save on printing and paper costs.
Upgrade to a cloud property management software with unlimited document storage. By storing your documents online against a specific property, owner, tenant, task, job and more, you can streamline your processes and access your documents at any time, even if you’re away from the office.
Encourage suppliers to email invoices and communications. This reduces the amount of paper clutter and ensures that you have a digital paper trail.
Utilise digital checklists and note taking apps such as Trello, Google, Keep and Evernote instead of writing or printing out checklists.
Implement a recycling program. Place a large recycling bin in the office for paper or a recycling bin in the kitchen to separate out recyclables and non-recyclables.
Reduce the number of personal bins. Have one or two central bins in the office. This can create awareness around how much waste is being produced and discarded.
Track paper usage on a Whiteboard or digital signboard. Set paperless targets and provide a small reward to those who use the least amount of paper.
Scan all documents. Whenever you receive a physical invoice, PDF or agreement, make sure you scan it and keep a digital copy of it.
The paperless future
There is no denying the fact that we now find ourselves in a time of change and uncertainty. We are forced to make changes we otherwise might not have considered. And while it’s human nature to resist change, a paperless system won’t only reduce costs and our environmental footprint, but also increase efficiency and hygiene.
So let’s embrace this new future and head into the new paperless world together.
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