Should your office go paperless? Yes, and here’s why
Thursday, September 18, 2014
We've heard a lot about technology and how it's changing our lives. Every day a new invention that can "make our lives better" seems to come out — who would have thought we were going to be living like the Jetsons?
One great benefit of technology is that it has enabled businesses to go paperless. It's a scary thought — to move all of your organized filings into one computer system — but it's one step closer to making our planet better and greener. It will probably make you and your employees happier, too.
It has been estimated that searching through paper files can take up as much as 30 percent of employee work time, according to ILM Corporation. Going paperless can allow you to be more efficient, which in return equals more money.
The infographic below takes a closer look at the effect that paper production has on the environment and on businesses costs:
If you're on the fence about it, consider these benefits:
- The files in your office will be more secure. Certain systems will allow you to change the level of security of a document even within your own office. You can have read receipts and be able to track the history of where a file has been and who has accessed it.
- You'll never have to walk over to the printer again. With internal documents, you can share files just with a click. With everything at your fingertips, you'll be able to edit, share and discuss important documents. There are several services you can use to do this, so you just need to find the one that fits your needs.
- Who doesn't like to save money? If your office sends out statements and bills to customers, you'll be able to transfer everything to be electronic. The more online billing you do, the less you'll spend on postage and envelopes. This doesn't even include employee time saved.
- Going paperless includes meetings, too. Do you have printouts during your meetings? Have all of your documents on hand through your digital system and have them ready to be pulled up during a meeting. If you like your members to receive the printouts, simply email or house them in a folder where they're easily accessible.
Not convinced yet? See if these options help change your mind:
- If you work in the U.S. and are transitioning your office into a paperless one, you can receive a tax break. The U.S. government encourages businesses to employ sustainability programs and grants compliant companies with incentives. It varies by state, so make sure you look into your state's offered credits and use them to your companies benefit.
- You're creating a healthier workplace for your employees. With the process of going green, your employees will catch on to the trend. It puts importance on the environment and bettering ourselves. A happier workplace means happier employees.
- Changing the way you handle business within your office will put a positive image on your company. With the new image, it can bring new customers in. You're tapping into an entirely new market with your environment-friendly habits.
This process may sound daunting. Don't think that you will never be able to see a sheet of paper again, because that's false. Going paperless simply means making your overall process virtual — you can still print your report or notes if and when needed.
If you've finally decided on transitioning to paperless, keep these points in mind:
- If you're going to make the move, stick with it. Make sure your office knows why you're doing it and about the process — the advantages and disadvantages.
- Update your computers. Having dated software can hinder your process of transitioning. You'll need to make sure you have a reliable backup system for all of the files you're going to add.
- Outline your process and analyze what you need to achieve. Which documents should be transitioned first? What needs extra security? What can be thrown out?
- Once you've made your decision, establish a timeline for the process. Having a goal in mind will make your process move easier. Have an incentive for your employees if you meet your goal.
- Don't rush into the transition; it takes time. Start small and make it a habitual habit, then increase how much you do within a day. Plus, if you start small, you can establish problems — if any — that may occur during the process.
Let's face it, you're used to paper. Making everything electronic is going to be a process, but once you do so, you’ll thank yourself. You're not only bettering your company, but yourself as well.
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