Papers are dirty, they take up space, they make you feel like you’re drowning in them. Switching to the paperless office can let you work more efficiently and reap the rewards of having less clutter. Replacing paper seems like a daunting task, but with these paperless office best practices, it’ll be a lot easier.
Did you know that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year and 6,800 of the 10,000 sheets used are wasted (source). However, going paperless is a challenging task and going unplanned will risk total failure of implementation.
What are Paperless Office Best Practices?
These are some of the best practices for going paperless. These will help make your transition much easier, so you can be more productive and worry less about overall organization.
1- Reduce printing
Reduce the amount of paper you print as a first step in breaking the dependence on paper documents. This goal is typically achieved gradually as staff members learn to value electronic versions of documents and the negative environmental and financial effects of printing.
2- Prioritize change management
In our opinion, this is the most critical paperless office best practices that you should plan properly.
When introducing any new technological initiative within your organization, you will be facing resistance from employees who will always prefer to work as usual even if it takes more time to complete a specific task.
In fact, change management is one of the most critical reasons why most new projects fail including going paperless initiative.
You will have to be very careful and help employees by training them and always remind them about the benefits of a specific initiative.
3- Create paperless office best practices committee
To ensure that best practices for becoming paperless are being followed and any feedback is promptly addressed to enable staff to carry on with their work, you should form a committee of key stakeholders from each department.
This committee should meet regularly to discuss how the initiative is progressing and clear any impediment that could risk failure of the project.
4- Build your Implementation Roadmap
In order to implement paperless office best practices, it is crucial that you have a plan in place. A strategy will help your company identify what needs to be done and when, so there are no hiccups along the way.
Define your company’s needs: how much time is saved by achieving paperless office goals? Eliminate unnecessary printing and shredding. This can save a significant amount of money that would otherwise be spent on ink and paper.
5- Use digital signatures
Since countries are passing more and more regulations requiring electronic document authentication, digital signatures are currently becoming more and more legally binding.
The operational time reduction is greatly impacted by signing papers digitally rather than using wet signatures because it is now necessary to validate documents, especially for firms that operate globally.
These are the best electronic signature tools available in the market now.
6- Use an electronic document management system
Document management systems can help going paperless by organizing and storing documents on a digital system. This can be done by scanning and uploading documents to the system.
The system will then create separate folders for each type of document, such as invoices, receipts, proposals & more. Users will be able to easily search and retrieve any needed document without ever having to go through physical storage files or worry about being
There are commercial and open source DMS. Depending on your requirements, term of usage, and budget you have the ability to choose the best for your company.
7- Invest in OCR software
The best OCR software is the key to going paperless. It can convert paper documents into digital documents. It is important for offices to have this software because it can help save space, reduce weight and make for a more organized office environment.
Additionally, while converting to digital format, the text on the paper may be recognized and converted into digital format, making it simpler to find this document in the future.
8- Keep a file backup
The most important paperless office best practices is to keep an updated backup of your digital documents periodically.
In the event of a disaster, paper documents may be lost or gone without a trace. Reproducing or duplicating a destroyed paper typically costs an organization a sizable sum of money each year. Digital documents can, however, be readily and securely backed up so that you can quickly restore them in an emergency.
9- Use cloud storage
Store all of your documents on the internet so that they can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, even if there is a power outage or natural disaster at home.
There are many advantages to moving to the cloud, but the two most important ones are lower hardware costs and less time spent on system maintenance. allowing your staff more time to concentrate on more crucial responsibilities.
10- Handle document security
Paper documents are vulnerable to falling into the wrong hands and exposing important information. You may put strong security measures in place for documents to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands or being exposed while relying on digitized papers.
If your private information is now public, you will lose customers trust and find it hard to continue in business.
11- Start planning for process digitalization
Having electronic documentation in place is the first step to taking to start enhancing the efficiency of your internal procedures. You should begin preparing to automate internal company processes and document workflow using tools such as accounts payable automation tools when this stage is mature, and workers are comfortable working in this manner to improve efficiency and agility of operations.
12- Encourage digital collaboration
Collaboration is a huge part of the workplace. It has become more important as we live and work in more remote locations. Implementing paperless office best practices can help to increase collaboration and reduce the amount of waste that is produced.
Using team collaboration tools can help your employees rely more and more on electronic documents and share them easily with other colleagues to finalize tasks faster.
13- Update internal procedures
At this stage, you should start updating internal procedures and start depending on digitized documents instead of papers. Make it a MUST to submit any paper electronically.