Each business has a corporate social responsibility. Organizations, whether big or small, are expected to conduct business with much consideration to economic, social, cultural, and environmental aspects.
If you want your business to do its part for the environment, going paperless is one of the best ways to go. Not only will it help reduce your company’s carbon footprint, but it comes with many unprecedented benefits as well.
Why Go Paperless?
1. Less Clutter
Is your office stacked with heaps of documents all the way back? While these are important for archiving, they could catch fire quickly.
With that being said, digitally storing these files will help reduce clutter. As a bonus, it can make your office relatively safe from fire as well.
2. Swift Data Access
Gone are the days when you need to go to libraries and storage areas to access paper documents.
With digital files, you can check facts and important data in just a few clicks.
3. Faster and Easier Collaboration
You don’t have to lose days waiting for the other branch’s response just because the messenger hasn’t reached it yet. With paperless files, all you just need to do is send files via e-mail or a sharing system.
With digital files, you can collaborate with workmates easily and efficiently – wherever they may be.
4. Better Data Recovery
If your paper files get burnt or flooded – and you don’t have any back-up – they’re as good as gone.
But with digital files, you can store necessary documents in a server, the cloud, and an external hard drive. These give you multiple back-ups in case of data corruption.
Your business can save a lot of money in terms of paper, ink, postage, and other related expenditures.
How to Go Paperless
1. Train your employees
Fact: not all your workers can easily adapt to a paperless office. This is especially the case for employees who have been used to photocopying or printing documents for the longest time.
With that being said, it’s best to provide them the needed training for going paperless. If you don’t, they’ll just keep on producing paper files, essentially defeating your goal of creating a digital workplace.
2. Provide the necessary tools
It’s hard to go paperless if your employees don’t have the gadgets and tools they need. While investing in laptops, scanners, and servers will burn a hole in your wallet, they’re beneficial in the long run.
Giving your workers all the things that they need will motivate them to go digital rather quickly. After all, who doesn’t like tinkering with new office machines?
3. Emphasize electronic communication
Using e-mail, text, or instant messaging is one of the best ways to reduce paper waste in the office. For example, instead of sending printed memos to the departments, you could send them as an e-mail. You can even use text or instant messaging for immediate notifications. These make for better information dissemination since you can easily share the file to all the workers, whether they are heads or rank-and-file workers.
Another way to reduce your paper trail is to swap real-life calendars for electronic ones. They are better at reminding workers of deadlines and meetings because these tools can remind them on or before the event.
Apart from promoting paperless communication in the office, your business can impose this on other enterprises as well. For one, you could ask for paperless bills from your utility providers.
4. Make use of E-signatures
Some companies continue to print files because of the need to have documents signed. While this is necessary, it shouldn’t stop your commitment to going paperless. If you want to save money and time, then go for e-signatures.
You need not worry about digital signing as these are just as legally binding. More importantly, you don’t have to wait for a few days just to get the files signed by your clients. You can send these to them digitally, which can facilitate the business conduct more efficiently.
5. Go for paperless meetings
In the olden days, giving handouts is a good way to keep the meeting members updated with the agenda. While it’s highly useful, this could lead to a huge deal of paper waste. To reduce this, you should invest in information sharing technology.
All you need to do is connect the HDMI cable to your laptop and you can project the meeting agenda on the screen or a whiteboard. You can even use your smartphone while you’re at it. Again, since digital files are easier to share, you can easily send the agenda to your teammates’ e-mails.
6. Use digital scanners
Need to copy an important file for several departments? Instead of using the photocopier, go for the scanner. You don’t have to waste time copying many documents, as you could do so with just one click of the scanner.
If your office doesn’t have a scanner, worry not as you could always use your phone. You can take a picture of the file, or have a better image with the use of a scanner app. Distributing these files is also very easy to do, as all you need to do is send it via e-mail and file-sharing systems.
7. Implement a digital file storage system
As mentioned, storing files digitally provide easier access and better recovery. If you want to get rid of paper documents that clutter many rooms, then your business should revert to a digital storage system.
You have the option to save your files in the cloud, or a more secure off-site file storage server. While scanning past files may be laborious, it could lead to more physical space – and less paper clutter.
8. Go for digital receipts
The act of going paperless should not be confined to the office, as you should extend it to your consumers as well. If you want to save money on point-of-sale receipts and whatnot, then you need to implement the use of digital receipts.
9. Store away your printing machines.
Immediate access to printers and photocopiers will discourage the staff from creating digital files. With that being said, it’s best to lead them away from temptation. Keeping these machines under lock and key will minimize your staff’s instances of using them.
Going paperless may be troublesome and costly at the start, but it comes with many benefits in the long run. Do your part for the environment by going digital today.