The best thing you can do to become a green, environmentally-friendly business is get rid of all the paper you use. Apart from becoming a business that contributes toward a secure future for the coming generations, you will also be transforming into a more efficient one. After all, getting rid of printed material means you will have all information available in digital form. This makes for a business that:
- Has all its information available online to anyone that needs to access it
- Uses less physical space when storing data and cuts the overhead costs it ensues
- Can retrieve and store data much more efficiently
- Implements the most efficient way of processing data and completing transactions
- Takes its security more seriously, as leaks and losses are greatly reduced
- Saves on expenses that come with the purchase of paper and the secure disposal of used paper and confidential documents
There really isn’t a winning argument against becoming a paperless environment; and the sooner you adopt it, the better it will be for your business.
Steps you can take to become paperless
While moving to a paperless environment can seem like a daunting task, all the effort is worth it. Start the process by making sure your staff knows what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what the advantages are – the more people you have on board, the easier and less painful the whole transformation process will be.
With that in mind, let’s see how you can make the move step-by-step.
1. Start cutting down paper use.
Before you can totally get rid of paper in your offices, you need to start discouraging staff from using it. Have a sit-down with representatives from every branch of your business and see how you can cut paper use.
Steps you might take include getting rid of unnecessary (non-value-adding) processes that use paper or discouraging the printing of hard copies when you already have the data stored on your servers.
2. Implement new technology.
You will obviously need to keep some (if not all) of your data, you just won’t be doing it on paper any more. This means you will need to adopt new technology that will capture and store it directly on your servers.
The good news is there are tons of choices when it comes to applications and systems you can integrate into your business. Some might even be free or cost a minimal fee for customization and usage licenses.
3. Upgrade your collaboration infrastructure.
A big advantage that comes with going paperless is your ability to have your data available for all your concerned staff to access. For efficiency, make sure you have a good collaboration system and access infrastructure in place.
Consider storing your data in the cloud. There are many great cloud hosting companies out there that will be able to address all your data storage and access requirements. All it takes is a little research.
4. Start moving your data.
Once you have the infrastructure in place, it’s time to move all your documents onto your servers or the cloud. To help, you can opt for document management systems (DMS) that will directly upload your documents by scanning.
If you want to make sure that you have in-document search capabilities, you can also look into a DMS with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) features.
5. Testing and tweaking your processes.
Once your data is online, start testing your business process flows. Your staff should come together to report any issues or concerns they encounter as they start testing the paperless environment.
Obviously, there will be glitches and confusion as you get used to new systems, but that should encourage you to find the right solutions. Always look for ways to move ahead, don’t rely on the way you used to do things. There are always workarounds you can implement, no matter what the business process issue is, so find them.
6. Adopt the paperless environment fully.
When testing is over, you can finish putting all necessary documents online and start working in a 100 percent paperless environment.
If things go well and your documents are secured online, say goodbye to your paper documents. Not sure how to do that securely? Consider hiring the services of a professional document destruction service.
You’re now a paperless business!
Congratulations! If you’ve followed these steps, you’re a greener and more efficient business. You should be proud to do you part in lessening your carbon footprint and making the world a better and safer place for generations to come.