How to Make Your Business a Paperless Office
According to Entrepreneur, for every 30 copies of a document that workers print off, 39% of them end up in the trash can. Further, a single four-drawer cabinet holds 15,000 - 20,000 pages, costs $25,000 to fill, and $2,000 to maintain each year.
If those statistics have you thinking about going paperless with your business, you’re in the right place to learn more. Keeping digital files is a great way to save money, and with modern tech it’s easier than ever. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of making the switch and exactly how to go about ridding your business of paper.
Why go paperless?
Aside from saving money, moving documents from paper versions to electronic versions has a number of benefits, including:
- Greater efficiency. If documents are stored electronically it’s typically much easier to search for the document you need without having to rifle through filing cabinets.
- Remote access. If you only have physical copies of a document working remotely becomes far more difficult. Storing files electronically makes it a breeze to get some work done from the airport or at home.
- Decreased risk of loss. Documents that are stored in office buildings risk being destroyed, lost, or stolen. Unless you have another backup losing important documents is disastrous. When everything is paperless, that risk is substantially diminished.
- It’s environmentally friendly. While not a direct benefit to your business it’s hard to deny that reducing paper consumption will have a positive impact
Disadvantages of a paperless office
Of course, old habits are hard to break, and cutting paper out of your office entirely can be a difficult task that takes some time. Before taking the plunge, consider these disadvantages of a paperless office:
- Technology is crucial. To go paperless you’ll need certain pieces of technology to make it work, like document management systems and scanners. If you aren’t already relatively tech-savvy setting up a system that works could take some time, effort, and money.
- Security. Because going paperless means relying on technology, you have an entirely new set of security issues to worry about. From viruses to hackers, you’ll need a tight security system in place.
- Human error. A paperless system is also susceptible to human error, like the misnaming of documents or incorrectly scanning a document. This can be an issue with any document management system, but small errors can make retrieving electronic documents difficult.
How to set up a paperless business
Ready to turn your business into a paperless enterprise? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Begin with easy-to-use software if you can. Before installing a state-of-the-art document management system, start with something like Google Apps for Business. Using this system is particularly simple if your team already uses Gmail and other Google services. With Google Apps you can create, store, share, and collaborate on documents, significantly reducing your need for paper.
- If you need a robust document management system, research thoroughly. There are many different document management systems available for those businesses that need something more powerful than services like Google Apps. Choosing one can be difficult, though. Take the time to research your options, and learn more about choosing a document management system.
- Switch to electronic payroll and accounting. Get rid of paper checks by making the move to electronic payments for staff and vendors. Accounting software like Quickbooks and Freshbooks also allow you to go paperless with your invoicing.
- Choose a secure cloud storage system. You’ll want a system that is secure, can be accessed remotely, and fits your storage needs. Here are 24 cloud storage systems to consider.
While you’re making the plan to switch to paperless don’t forget about your existing documents! Time details several helpful solutions, like a company that will digitize your documents for you, and smartphone apps that make on-the-go scanning quick and easy. Before you know it those piles of paper on your desk will be neatly organized on your hard drive or on the cloud.