Four Steps to Creating a Paperless Office

Wadih Pazos October 1, 2021

Four Steps to Creating a Paperless Office
Document Workflow
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Going paperless in the office has been a goal of many businesses for a long time. A fully integrated, fully digital workflow would save most companies time and money, not to mention the beneficial effect it would have on the environment.

But it’s not so easy.

Going paperless is a much more complex task than simply throwing out old papers and cleaning out filing cabinets. To truly go paperless requires a sea change that involves every one of your employees to be on board.

With that in mind, here are four tips to going paperless that will help any business meet its goal.

1. Start small

Changing from manual to digital workflow is going to involve changing the way almost everything is done around the office, so start small. Deciding to ditch all the paper processes in your office at the same time can be a serious upheaval that will take time to adjust to.

IT Business Edge recommended starting with just one department and building slowly from there.

2. Include your employees

When the Province of Ontario rolled out a new paperless system to manage its welfare caseload, it did so without fully training its employees on the system, according to the Toronto Star. The resultant issues and overtime payments as they tried to learn on the fly cost the province an extra $10 million.

The lesson to learn from Ontario is that employees need to be on board with any changes, mandating a paperless system from the top without buy-in from the people who will actually implement the programs will not work. It is imperative that a company find ways to collaborate with its employees on any project aimed at going paperless.

3. Ditch the scanner

Find a way to make all your forms digital. If the first step in the process of going paperless is scanning piles of paper forms into the computer, then the system is not being used to its full advantage.

Scanning forms is an extra step when a company can simply make its forms digital in the first place. Use mobile technology like tablets and mobile phones to allow data input in an electronic form and save a step, and all that paper, at the start.

4. Allow for change

When converting from a manual process to a digital one for any office task, the way fundamental ways in which the task is accomplished will change. The idea of going paperless isn’t to replicate the manual process step-for-step but to find ways to make it more efficient and streamlined.

Find ways to cut waste and extra steps out of the process before the paperless process is implemented so that it can have its greatest effect.

To have a truly successful transition to a paperless system requires all the stakeholders at a company to buy in. Starting with that premise, instead of making the move from the top down, is the only way to be successful.

Wadih Pazos

Wadih founded PairSoft and PaperSave, and he currently advises non-profits on business process improvement and technology.

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