Are you still following the paper trail in your business? You aren’t alone. A recent survey of 3,500 business leaders found that 44% said they use paper daily.
While many businesses have been forced over the last year to make changes to allow employees to work remotely, many are still following old habits and pushing papers around their desks.
Paperless offices were first predicted in a 1975 BusinessWeek article that imagined by 1990 most handling of records would be electronic.
Nearly 50 years later, many of us are struggling to achieve a paperless environment.
There are tremendous benefits that come with going paperless for both your business and your employees.
Here are a few:
- Electronic files can be found quickly using search options, eliminating the nearly 40% of time wasted by employees looking for lost documents;
- Printers, toner, repair and maintenance costs are virtually eliminated by moving to paperless. It also frees up office space when you remove the machines and file cabinets needed to manage all that paper;
- Improve workload stress by eliminating the piles of papers on workers’ desks. Going electronic gets rid of the visual clutter and stress that comes with stacks and stacks of paper.
So, how do you make the leap to digital? Here are a few tips to make the process easier:
- Understand that it takes time. Going paperless is not going to happen overnight or even over a few weeks. It is going to take time, so it is important to have the right mindset;
- Involve your team. As with any change to operational processes, it is important to involve your employees. Meet with them to gain their input and develop processes that they will accept because they had a say in it;
- Identify some of your most paper-intensive processes and start with those. Many businesses find that requiring written signatures on contracts or invoices generates a large paper trail. Switching to e-signature acceptance is affordable and easy—a good first step;
- Ask your vendors for paperless options. Many building material suppliers offer online portals and apps that allow you to place orders, track deliveries and view and pay invoices;
- Hire a consultant. Some companies and consultants specialize in helping you make the transition to be paper-free. They also can help with the digitization of old paper records to eliminate those rooms filled with file cabinets.