So you’re ready to go paperless. It’s about time. Going paperless offers incredible benefits to you and your business. According to an article by Chad Brooks at Business News Daily, paperless offices:
- Are Easy to Search
- Are Environmentally Friendly
- Save Space
- Are Loved by Customers
- Provide Easy Access
- Add Security
- Allow for Better Collaboration
- Ease Disaster Recovery
- Improve Discipline
- Are Always Accessible
So you want to change, but how? It’s not easy (or realistic) to change to a paperless office overnight. It takes planning and careful consideration. Here are some tips on how you can make the transition without risking the success of your current business practices.
Develop an Efficient Plan
Going paperless isn’t as easy as scanning and saving all of your documents. It’s a new business process and it takes careful planning. Determine what makes sense for your business and outline a plan. Don’t rush it. Take the time to develop a strategy that will work and not cause chaos in the office.
Start by unburdening your incoming paper. Remove yourself from mailing lists, sign up for electronic billing, and request paperless statements. Many companies even provide discounts for going paperless.
Take the time to develop a strategy that will work and not cause chaos in the office.
Once you’ve reduced incoming paper, shift your focus to current clients and customers. Convert their records to digital and maintain a digital-only relationship from there. Wait to convert past clients and customers until after you have completed converting your current ones.
For in-office paper, use software that allows you to make notes on digital documents such as Adobe Acrobat or Google Docs. For meetings, skip the paper notes and agendas and replace them with electronic versions that workers can view on mobile devices.
Employees will ultimately be the ones that make or break your paperless office plans. This is why proper employee training and accountability are vital.
Guide your employees and show them the benefits of a paperless office. Teach them file naming conventions and proper file locations to prevent confusion.
Select a few employees to act as paperless “champions”. Being told to be paperless isn’t enough. Employees who see others going paperless will follow suit.
Invest in Technology
The proper equipment will help you succeed in transitioning to a paperless office. There are several reasonably priced scanners that make it easy to scan your office documents.
More digital files require additional storage and backup. Consider adding additional servers to your network. For document backup, invest in a cloud-based solution for your important business documents.
Switch to Electronic Forms
To truly become paperless, your business needs to change the way it works. It would be pointless to continue using paper that would ultimately just be scanned and stored. Electronic forms software makes the entire process digital.
Employ mobile forms that would allow workers in the field to capture business data. Not only is this process paperless, it is also faster and more accurate. Data can be made instantly available and a new business process can truly be established.
Enterprise form software has a variety of benefits:
• Complete data collection and transmission in fewer steps
• Reduction in recording and transmission errors
• Digital storage for easy access
Faster Response Time:
• Instant data sharing allowing for intelligent decision making
• Automatic notifications and tasking to users’ mobile devices with workflow
• Ease of use for field workers
• Automatically generated reports available to pre-determined users
• Smart dashboards provide a view of business data in a glance
• Photo inclusion for guiding and validating
Top-Level Data Security and Backup:
• Access controls to ensure proper users are accessing forms and data
• Secure, off-site data storage equipped with highest security standards
• Automatic and worry free data safeguarding and backup
Form.com offers an enterprise grade mobile form solution for your business. Utilizing the Software as a Service (SAAS) business model, Form.com provides a true electronic form solution that offers more than just data collection. Form.com makes it easy to acquire, track, analyze, and respond to business-critical data information.
Review and Audit
After you’ve implemented your paperless office, it’s important to review and audit. Take a look at the practices you have put in place and see if they are working as planned. If they are not, examine what is not working within the process and make the appropriate changes. If they are, look at more of your office practices and see how you can make them paperless.