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How to Make Your Office Paperless

We may not have achieved a completely paperless society yet, but by making your office paperless, you can help the dream happen. Going paperless will reduce your carbon footprint and could save you a lot of money on paper and toner. People will be able to find the things they need more easily in digital storage. You’ll all have more space because desktops won’t be cluttered with paper and printers. You’ll be able to process invoices faster and keep your confidential documents safer. It will be wonderful.

But making your office paperless is a process. You shouldn’t try to rush it. Your employees will need support, and you’ll need to analyze each one of your business processes to see if it can be digitized. In the end, you may not succeed in making your office completely paperless – people will still need paper to jot notes and they may still need to print out the occasional document. But a goal of reducing your dependence on paper by as much as 80 percent is realistic and attainable. Here’s how.

Take Business Processes Online

Just about any business processes that you’re currently doing on paper can be digitized. Some business processes may generate more paper use than others. Analyze your business processes and determine which ones use the most paper, and hone in on those first. 

You might be surprised at the degree to which you can digitize your business processes. There are online tools you can use for digitizing all kinds of business processes. If a small town government can use code enforcement software to manage violations and accept online complaints, then you can find the tools you need to digitize processes like attendance tracking, accounting, expense tracking, and document signatures.

Revamp Your Document Management Strategy

You need to completely reconsider your document management strategy – shift to a digital mindset. Documents tend to be easier to manage when they’re kept digital. You can store digital documents in a digital database and call them up with a few clicks of the mouse. That beats digging around in a filing cabinet for twenty minutes. Scan paper documents into the system and then go completely paperless from there.

Use the Cloud

The cloud will enable a much greater degree of collaboration and sharing among your employees. It’s definitely a better option than making copies of a document to pass around. Multiple people can access and make changes to a document at once in the cloud, and they don’t even have to be in the same room – or on the same continent. Use a reliable cloud platform to store and backup your data. You can try a free solution like Google Drive, or you can choose a paid platform.

Implement Paperless Billing

Paperless Billing

These days, everyone wants to pay by credit card anyway, so it’s never been a better time to switch to paperless billing. Ask your bank for paperless statements. Talk to your vendors about digital invoicing. Let your customers know which credit cards you’ll take. There are lots of invoicing platforms available to help you take the plunge into paperless billing. You can even buy invoicing software that will let you scan receipts using your phone camera. 

Remove Printers

It might sound overly simplistic, but removing people’s printers will cause them to print less. You don’t need to cut off all access to printing. Instead of letting everyone have their own individual printer, just have one that everyone connects to. This will help minimize printing and will make it easier to spot any printer abuses.

Support Your Employees

Your employees are going to need some support to make the switch to a paperless office, even if they are in favor of it. Give your employees concrete instructions for how they can reduce their use of paper. Emphasize that it will be easier to work without paper – and make sure that’s true. Many employees may need support to help them learn how to use new software tools effectively, so make sure you provide it. 

Remember, the transition to a paperless office is one that should happen gradually. Make one change at a time and give employees plenty of time to adjust to those changes before making more. Set a goal for how much you want to reduce your company’s use of paper, and reward your employees when they reach the goal. Make going paperless easier than using paper, and you’ll be surprised at how fast you can cut down your paper usage.

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