Paper is expensive, but it’s not like you didn’t know that already. In addition to the costs that frivolous paper usage can have to your business, there’s also the environmental impact to consider. Making a few changes around the office can help to reduce your dependence on paper to conduct business, as we’ll review in this week’s tip! Here's how to phase out paper.
How to Start Going Paperless
As with most elements of business, going paperless will require a little more than just taking it off of your vendor order forms. With a change to something so fundamental to the office, you have to be ready for whatever pops up, which means you need a step-by-step strategy to follow.
Step 1: Identify How Paper is Currently Used
The first step you should take is to identify how paper is being used, filed, and stored. Ask yourself:
Are unnecessary duplicates of data being produced, only to be disposed of? Are your file cabinets filled to bursting with copy after copy of a data set, with only incremental changes between each version? Are you sacrificing needed office space to paper storage?
Knowing the answers to these questions is the first step to creating a plan that eliminates these issues.
Step 2: Leverage Available Solutions
Naturally, in order to properly go paperless, you need to have something to take its place. Innovations in office solutions have largely eliminated the need for you to utilize very much paper at all.
Between digital signage, document scanning, advancing your equipment to allow for such processes to be adopted, and all the other solutions that assist you in going paperless, the initial cost may be considerable. However, the capital you are likely to save in the long run can help make up for it. This also allows you to leverage a cloud solution to store your documents, potentially allowing an increase in productive hours, and helping you to keep files organized and accounted for.
Furthermore, using the cloud and other digital solutions provides a higher level of data security than the antiquated physical document storage could. While certain rules, requirements, and user roles can be set to allow or deny access to certain cloud files, all it takes to access a physical document in a file cabinet is a simple key - and that’s assuming the cabinet was properly locked after it was last accessed.
Step 3: Engage Employees
Like any change around the office, the most important step is quite possibly to get your employees to use it. Remember, they have grown accustomed to doing things a certain way, which means that they are most likely comfortable with that method. To get them to make the switch with minimal resistance, you should not only patiently train them to use their new solutions, you should add some incentives to motivate them to embrace the changes.
Of course, you will undoubtedly encounter some resistance of some kind during your switch to paperless. All you have to do is stick to your guns and try to make the change as seamless as possible.
What other initiatives have you launched in your office? Tell us about them in the comments below.