Paper is everywhere, and companies spend a lot of time and money moving and eliminating paperwork.
Decades ago, a paperless office seemed like a distant dream. Today, thanks to technology, the amount of paper used by companies has decreased substantially, although we can still do more.
It is likely that today’s companies cannot stop using paper completely, since it is sometimes necessary to keep the printed version of contracts and other legal documents. However, most documents such as invoices, receipts, business cards can be scanned and stored digitally for later reference. These can be shared online, which saves time and money.
Digital documents are simpler, easier to store and send and more versatile than paper.
These 10 simple tips for creating a paperless office can help you reduce your paperwork and manage your business more efficiently.
How to get an office without papers?
To stop using paper is not something that happens overnight; You must design and implement a strategy to reduce the use of paper that involves all employees in your office.
Here we show you some steps to consider.
Track all your print jobs
Check the amount of paper you are using daily and weekly. This work can be a challenge, so you might consider using print audit software to find out where all the print jobs come from.
Calculate the possible cost decrease
Track all your expenses related to printing, including printers, ink or toner, paper, service contracts, storage and technical support. You must deduct the income you receive from the use of paper, unless they are combined using digital documents.
Start using tools and digital mobile applications
Use digital versions of the files that are printed on paper from the beginning to eliminate as much paper as possible from your life. Mobile applications can be very useful to obtain a paperless office because they allow you to easily share data with customers and suppliers. It also has a variety of applications online or in the cloud among which stand out:
– Google Docs to collaborate in different files
– Dropbox or Box to share files
– Basecamp for simple project management
– Evernote to take digital notes
– PayPal to transfer funds
Train your staff to reduce the use of paper
Work with your staff to make sure they can handle and process electronic documents, such as invoices, documents, digital signature, among others. To involve employees in the ultimate goal of achieving a paperless office, you can create monthly reduction goals and display them publicly using an “inverse thermometer”. You can also create a system that allows your staff to measure how many hard copies are personally responsible monthly. This knowledge can motivate your employees to reduce their personal use of paper.
Monitor, measure and analyze
To measure progress in the process of creating a paperless office, you must track the reams of paper you buy. It is a tracking system quite easy to configure and due to the fact that it is very visual, you and your staff can easily see the amount of paper used.
Scan any documentation you receive from others
Document scanners are reasonably economical, and you can obtain documentation in PDF format that is easy to use and store. There are also many good scanner applications available for smartphones that are very simple and very useful.
Sign documents digitally
Most countries now have laws that make electronically signed contracts legally valid just as if they were signed with pencil and paper. You can do it using different types of applications. You can also send a PDF file with a digital signature. For businesses, simply accepting signed documents by email instead of forcing their customers to fax them is a technological breakthrough
Use online banking
Request digital bank statements and reports from financial institutions. If you’re worried about missing something, you can easily set up alerts in your accounting software that will remind you when the invoice is due.
Implement electronic invoicing
If you want to have a paperless office, you need to implement electronic billing. This billing method can take a while to establish, and you should be very careful when choosing a high-risk payment portal. Managing your office’s finances through the web makes payments faster and much easier to track. You can also send receipts by email to customers instead of printing them.
Redesign key business processes
If you want to substantially reduce the use of paper, you must re-design a certain business process to identify procedures in which the use of paper is unnecessary. One of the easiest steps is to generate reports directly in PDF format, which can be reviewed on a laptop, tablet or even on a smartphone.
There are numerous benefits to creating a paperless office. App stores are full of options that can help you achieve that goal.