Everyone is aware how the environment around us is changing and one of the many reasons why it is happening is because we cut trees down extensively and destroy the ecosystem. We think that we cannot live without paper – you see paper everywhere in any company you take into account – be it an agency providing digital solutions, a government office, or any other. For many good reasons, the ideal of ‘protecting our environment’ included, it is a must that the use of paper is minimized. In any company, going paperless can bring in a lot of healthy changes in the workplace such as faster response to clients and employees, and efficient business processes, quick tracking of records and processes etc. With outsourcing companies offering document scanning services and scanning and imaging services, it is easy to convert all your business papers from even years ago to digital format.
There may be various reasons why businesses want to go paperless – to just store information, to store and retrieve data whenever needed, increase the capability of your data gathering and reporting etc. Whatever be your reasons, it is always advisable to understand whether going paperless will eventually prove more efficient. Are the digitized files organized and saved in a public folder in your server, or are they just scanned for the sake of getting rid of paper and then stored randomly? If the former is the way, are you using an effective cloud storage service, or if it is the latter, you might as well have a physical filing cabinet! Naming conventions, effective software for organizing the files and security are things that matter when it comes to effective digitization.
Some very basic, easily relatable advantages of going paperless are:
- Reduce clutter – Whether you are an organized person or not, reduced paper use at your work desk is bound to bring more organization.
- Saves time – You could save ample time when it comes to searching and retrieving important files from a folder. This will take time and effort with paper documents, but in the digital format, it is going to take very less time if everything is organized, and can be made accessible to anyone in your company.
- Security – Any private or important papers in your office is prone to theft, but if everything is digitized, you could easily secure it from any attack.
- Disaster proof – Anything physical is prone to attack from water, fire, dampness and mold, especially papers. It doesn’t take much time for these factors to destroy your paper assets. If you have cloud-backup for your data along with your own hard drive, your business information will remain safe.
Having said all these and the benefits of going paperless, there are challenges and serious things to consider before turning digital. Conceptually, going paperless and leading a digital company may sound great and easy, and it does increase employee productivity, efficiency and security. Some of the factors to consider are:
- Be realistic: There is no question of completely eliminating paper from your company and it won’t be practical. Industries such as regulatory or legal will find it extremely hard or even impossible to get rid of papers. But with many legal document scanning companies around, this won’t be a difficult task. Also, you need to identify what types of documents should go into the digital format. Needless to say, there may be cases of employees who cannot adapt to the digital age. In such cases, they can only process traditional paper-based files.
- Inspect: Learn how well paper is made use of in your company. Whether the employees are printing too much, that which is not necessary; whether it is cluttering the workspace, or whether searching for information is taking too much time. Inspecting will help you have an objective in mind.
- Scope: Have a thorough understanding of what files need to be converted and which all departments will be affected. Also, will you be having archived files or just the current files?
- Training: Going paperless means there are loads of digital files in your company. Employees need to be trained on how to use and organize them, about the naming conventions of files, and storage. Decide who all need to be trained first and how. Your scanning and imaging outsourcing provider should be able to give an outline of the training plan too.
The process of going paperless is practical, but requires time and effort. Ideally, hire a bulk document scanning service provider that can help you with everything from scanning the files to training your employees. This is the best way in which you can achieve your New Year’s goal of going paperless.