As the global pandemic begins to subside, the long-awaited return to the office is gradually becoming a reality. The success that remote working has had in the interim has highlighted how important technology is in modern work processes, and how ‘Going Paperless’ and embracing the ‘Smart Office’ is more desirable than ever.
Talk of a paperless office is nothing new. In fact, businesses have been actively encouraged to make the switch for well over a decade. The process might seem daunting, but the required day-to-day operational changes made to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic challenges have cast considerable light on the practicalities of the change.
For businesses, the change is proving to be positive with administrative overheads falling, security issues over unauthorised handling and document misplacement all but gone, and environmental footprints dropping. In fact, demand for office paper products has decreased by between 20% and 30%, according to research.
Instead, scanning and electronic data storage, all overseen by hi-tech automatic document management software, allow companies in almost every sector make the move to a paperless office.
So, how can you make the switch to a paperless office? Here are 6 simple steps to help your company make the dream a reality.
It’s best to start by assessing the extent of your current printing practices, checking on the actual volume used and the habits of employees. Once these facts are ascertained, then an action plan can be drawn up comprising the practical needs of the office and a method to meet them while also achieving a more sustainable printing policy.
Replacing paper itself is not difficult; you need only invest in the document storage software available. But it is important not only to choose the right one for your needs but also understand how to use it efficiently. Through Cloud migration, employees can access documents from anywhere on their devices. But there are several steps to complete this process successfully, and a variety of software to choose from, so it is a good idea to research options and find out how clients and business partners use their document storage software.
The cornerstone of an effective automated document management system is digitization. This means scanning all of the physical files so that they can be stored digitally. This can be time-demanding at first, but the ease of use and data security that it delivers makes the process worth it. What is more, intelligent technology, like Optical Character Recognition, makes it simple to categorise and organise documents so that each document can be retrieved within seconds.
Once the Cloud is accessed and document scanning for existing files is underway, it is the ideal time to embrace digital procedures for everyday administrative and document management tasks. For example, switch to using digital signatures rather than written signatures. That way emailed documents to clients will not need to be printed, then signed, then scanned, then emailed back.
With so little paper now being used in your office, those awkwardly placed filing cabinets can be moved out. By decluttering the floorspace, more relevant technology can be brought in. But, ultimately, it’s a chance to brighten, lighten and enhance the working environment, and thus boost employee wellbeing, creativity and productivity.
Lastly, observe how your employees are handling the switch. Not everyone will do so seamlessly, some may need a little extra attention to help. It may require some explanation, so be willing to share information on the benefits for everyone – not least how it can streamline their workload. You may also need to organise training sessions to ensure everyone is onboard with the new processes.
If you would like to talk to a Kefron’s team member about switching to a paperless office, click here.