How Your Office Can Go (Almost) Completely Paperless
A common workflow issue is figuring out where work documents should be kept. In the 21st century, many businesses are reducing the use of physical paperwork in favor of digital document storage. While many companies have gone digital, often their “digital filing cabinets” are a mess! Businesses often use several different digital drives and they spend more time typing and scanning in information than they should. Also, sometimes digital document storage isn’t as secure and safe as it could be. Here are some ways that you can transform your business into a nearly-paperless environment through the use of a digital document storage platform.
Make a List of Business Processes That Require Paper
The first step of going paperless is making a list of all the current processes within your business that use paper. This could be billing, registration forms, new hire paperwork, training binders, annual review paperwork, etc. Talk to members of each department at your office to get a comprehensive idea of everything that requires paper. Once you have a list, you can start to see which areas of your business need to be digitized. Whether this involves scanning in old paper documents or creating digital forms to replace paper forms, the work can be done simply with a digital document storage platform.
Cloud-Based Internal Document Storage
One of the first things to consider when moving to a paperless office is using a cloud-based solution for internal documents. While it might sound expensive or time-consuming, anyone with access to a Google account can create, edit, and share documents through Google Drive or Google Docs. One benefit of using these applications is that your team can work together from anywhere they choose to operate. A second benefit of using these applications is that document storage happens primarily on the cloud. This reduces the risk of data loss or unauthorized access. Recently, many employees have made the switch from working in the office to working at home. Having a cloud-based internal document server is key to teleworking successfully. With ease of access, your employees can view and edit important documents from the comfort of their own home. Sharing documents with coworkers is easy on a cloud-based system. It’s much easier than emailing with a ton of attachments or printing copies and dropping them off at different desks! Cloud-based internal document storage also increases security. The documents are safely encrypted inside the system, and permissions can be assigned to ensure that only those who are supposed to be accessing the documents can see them.
Paperless Billing and Receipts
There is also a financial advantage to going paperless. Mailing invoices and waiting on mailed checks takes a lot of time. By moving to emailed invoices and electronic payments, time wasted waiting to pay or be paid can be reduced. You will also end up saving a lot of money by transitioning to digital invoicing. Think about all the money you spend on paper and ink to print the invoices, envelopes, stamps, etc. All of that money can be saved with paperless billing! One of the interesting challenges that you might encounter is training your customers to remit payment electronically. While it can be a transition process, your customers will in time be much happier being billed electronically. Paperless billing is also much safer. The process of mailing invoices and payments is not without risk. Things can get lost in the mail or accidentally delivered to the wrong place. While this may not be the norm, it does happen. With e-billing, the bill goes directly to the customer and payment goes directly back to the business. The payment process can be encrypted in order to keep the customer’s payment information safe and secure.
Paperless Employee Forms
An easy place to start going paperless is with your internal employee forms. The first step is creating digital forms within your document management system. New hire/onboarding paperwork is a great place to start. Create digital forms for all the new hire paperwork and save them in your system. Any time a new employee is hired, they can easily access the forms and fill them out on the computer. Nothing ever has to be printed! Also, digital forms are easy to update. Simply make the changes and save anytime you need to change a form. Other forms that can be automated are those related to health insurance, 401Ks, retirement, employee reviews, employee surveys, and more!
One last thing to consider about going paperless at the office involves how meetings take place. Stop wasting paper by printing agendas, slide decks, and other handouts. Instead of printing all that paper, consider using a file-sharing system like Dropbox or TeamViewer. Dropbox is a versatile tool for storing documents and giving others access in an instant. TeamViewer is another flexible tool that allows your team to hold meetings from a variety of locations without wasting additional resources. As mentioned above, many employees are now working from home, meaning a lot of meetings are occurring over platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams as opposed to in-person. Sharing meeting slides and documents digitally allows meeting attendees to still participate even if they aren’t in the office.
Ready to Go (Almost) Paperless?
Now that you’ve seen some of the ways that you can make the transition to a nearly paperless office, it’s time to make the shift. The first step is identifying areas within your business that could go digital. The benefits of going paperless will help improve how your company does business–but it can be hard to take the leap on your own. Find a team of experts that can support your team as you move into a paperless world. When you’re ready to learn more about document storage, contact Vasion to get started!