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Reasons & Tips For a Paperless Office | Abbotsford Tech Support
As long as I have worked in offices, I have heard talk of the paperless office.
“We need to go more paperless”.
“With all this new tech, we can go paperless”.
“The paperless office is the future.”
For many years, the electronic revolution led us to believe that office paper usage would almost disappear. In fact, BusinessWeek talked about the paperless office way back in 1975. However, it didn’t happen. The demand for paper is even expected to double by 2030!
Shockingly, paper makes up 50% of business waste and fills up 25% of landfill. But why? We have never been more digital. The cloud has revolutionized file storage and document sharing. In a survey, the top 5 reasons given were:
1 – Lack of management initiatives
2 – The need for physical signatures
3 – Staff prefer handling or reading paper
4 – Lack of understanding of paper-free options
5 – Still used by suppliers and customers
Whilst these are understandable, they are not particularly challenging. These results really point to us being stubborn creatures of habit! Whatever the reason, maybe it is time to really take another look at this paperless office dream…
The Benefits of Paperless Offices
There are many benefits to going paperless beyond just the environmental ones.
Most employees spend up to 40% of their time looking for information locked in email and filing cabinets. A digital filing system slashes that time with its search functionality. Documents are instantly available to more people.
When you think about labour, printers, toner and cabinets (not to mention the office space needed to store all this), paper document filing costs more than you think. One estimate is approx. $20 per copy! On top of that are the costs when files aren’t stored properly. Larger organizations lose a document every 12 seconds, costing them $350 – $700 per piece to recover.
An office with less clutter is easier to keep clean and just nicer to work in!
Apparently, over 70% of businesses would fail within 3 weeks if they lost their paper-based records due to fire or flood.
The great news is there are many ways to go paperless and many offices are taking those steps! So, if you want to save clutter, cost and time, here are some tips for going about it…
Storing your files seems the obvious place to start! Take a stock of what files you need to store on a regular basis and look at online storage options that fit your company. Do you need an online storage service, or is it time to look at a CRM? Then, start getting into the habit of saving those working files online rather than printing them out.
Once you are up and running, you can also start sorting through the old files, scanning the ones you still need and shredding the originals.
Communicate with your Partners
This is a great opportunity to touch base with clients and/or suppliers. (And potentially update your contact database!) Update them on the exciting news of your paperless journey and ask them to send any future documents in digital format. When it comes to contracts, there are a few great (and secure) online options like DocuSign or HelloSign.
Embrace paperless Meetings
There are loads of apps that can help you take notes in a meeting. It is also a much more visually engaging experience to use a projector to follow along an agenda or display information. (And of course, this is far less distracting and annoying than everyone shuffling papers to find a particular handout page!)
Sign Up for e-statements, e-billing etc
If you are still working with paper forms of utility bills etc, sign up for email version instead. Online banking is safe and easy to keep track of. You can also invoice your clients online. Plus, if you use an online accounting software like FreshBooks or QuickBooks, not only are you reducing paperwork in the Finance Department, but you can even receive payments online. (Speeding up your receivables, increasing security and making life easier for your customers too!)
Dual Monitor Set-ups
A lot of paper usage comes from people printing out pages needed for reference. Paper that immediately finds itself in the bin after they are done! Set them up with dual monitors! A dual monitors set-up can really speed up (and ease up) workflow by giving people more space to work and see all the info they need at once.
Don’t Forget the Importance of Security and Back-ups!
Of course, during this journey of paperless exploration, make sure you are considering the right level of data security for your business needs. All mainstream online storage services are very vigilant and offer the best protection. However, you also need to remember to educate your employees appropriately and have good policies in place. Oh, yes… and don’t forget those precious back-up options!
And finally… Don’t Stress!
This will be a journey… so take it one step at a time! (Rome wasn’t built in a day!) And be realistic in how paperless you can go. After all, not every single piece of paper will be eliminated (business licenses etc?)… but doing what you can counts. The planet and your bank account will still thank you!
If you are looking to take your office paperless and need help, contact us! Just give us a call on 604-210-9811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.