Productivity and efficiency are important aspects for any workplace, and these aspects are major driving forces behind the organization. So, it is not surprising that employers are constantly concerned and strive to improve productivity of their workplace. Any business, big or small, requires record keeping of some sort for their different paper documentation.
Until a few years back managing piles of printed materials was one of the biggest headaches for employers. It not only slowed down their productivity, it also consumed significant time, effort and resources. Evolving technology has now brought out a new concept called the “Paperless Office”, a term that seemed impossible decades back. Basically, a paperless office is a work environment where usage of paper is greatly reduced or completely eliminated.
Paperless office environments are getting popular these days, mainly due to their numerable benefits. From improving security, accuracy and speed to making it easy to retrieve documents, paperless offices also eliminate the need for additional physical space for document storage. Paperless work environments are not just about getting a scanner in the office and storing documents in their digital form, the scope and tools of today’s paperless office are very diverse.
For example, today’s paperless offices use emails and text messages for internal and external digital communications. Custom PDF forms and digital PDF stamps are now used to process and stamp documentation electronically, but even with these simple and cost effective paperless solutions available a good number organizations are still apprehensive in adopting them.
In a nutshell, paperless offices are intended to equip today’s employees with digital tools for a more cost effective and efficient workplace. If your thinking about going paperless in the workplace here are a few points you should keep in mind:
- Analyze the scope and need of your business before opting for a standard off the shelf paperless office solution; there are chances that even the most expensive paperless office solution could make your business processes counter-productive.
- Draw a flowchart for your business processes before designing or investing in a off the shelf customized paperless solution. Having an idea of system flow will give you an idea of what features are primarily needed for your paperless office solution.
- Define key roles of people in your organization, and allocate system-specific tasks to them.
- While considering software for your paperless office, first assess your hardware needs required by the business. Depending on the size of your business, you need to decide on the number of scanners, laptops, and other hardware that will be required.
- Make smart additions like multifunction printers. Even though their initial cost is high, it is beneficial for the company in long term.
- Look for paperless solution companies that can provide specific custom tailored solutions to your business requirements.
- Remember, breaking a habit is hard and change is not always welcomed. So, do not expect your employees to accept the new paperless office technology overnight.
- Bring the change slowly and in steps so that it becomes easier to accept. Also, provide proper training to all the employees and teach them how to effectively use your paperless office suite of tools.
- Start with regular and frequently done activities like digitizing the mail or using spreadsheets to store detailed information.
- Use custom PDF forms, digital PDF stamps and electronic document signing services.
- Adopt PDF format for all of your internal and external documents, and use the same format for storing internal files. Even reports should be generated in PDF format, so that they can be easily viewed on the desktop, laptop or other handheld devices.
- Digitize all your literature, everything from product brochures to company policies, make sure every document is digitized and present in the cloud.
- To cut down usage of paper, try to adopt collaborative tools for messaging, telecommuting and video conferencing.
- Setup a proper system to save, index and file your documents for easy retrieval.
Operating a paperless office can be easy, if it has been planned properly. Remember, your goal should be to reduce usage of paper in the workplace as much as possible, or completely eliminate it if feasible.