If there’s one thing in life that is truly unnecessary, it’s paper cluttering your office. 50% of business waste is paper, and offices in the United States alone use 12.1 trillion sheets of it every year.
It’s intimidating to clear because there’s so much of it, and maybe there’s some anxiety over “I might need this someday, so I better keep it forever.”
But then you’re just stuck with boxes of paper in a closet that you haven’t looked at in three years gathering dust.
Going paperless in the office is a big decision. To completely revamp your business practices and lose that feeling of familiarity is just as daunting as clearing out old papers you don’t need anymore.
As you can imagine, the team here at IMS knows a little something about digital workplace solutions, so we put together some of our best tips on how to make the process of going paperless less of a nightmare.
1. Don’t Go Cold Turkey
The first step toward going paperless in the office is creating a culture around reducing paper usage. If you cut out paper from your business processes completely without first taking an effort to reduce usage, you’re going to get whiplash.
Your team is going to need a little time to get used to the idea of saving or eliminating the need for paper. Take a quarter to challenge people to reduce their paper usage through a variety of methods:
- Advocate for a culture of reusing and recycling non-confidential documents.
- Reduce the number of printers in the office, especially if everyone has one at their desk or in their office. Employees will be less likely to print frivolously.
- Request paperless statements from your bank and service providers and pay your bills online.
- If you must print, make it a policy to print on both sides of the paper.
Making small changes can go a long way in making the big change feel more manageable and making your team more willing to learn how to go paperless.
2. Create an Infrastructure that Supports and Enables a Paperless Office
A natural evolution of the paperless office is a more digital workspace. When you have the right tools and software in place, creating a digital process for practices that were previously done primarily on paper is much easier.
For example, consider creating a dual-monitor setup. A common reason to print documents is the need to reference two things at the same time. Multiple monitors make it easy to absorb more information without having to print anything.
If you’re working with vendors that require you to use a fax machine, there are online fax providers that will email you an incoming fax—which is more convenient. No more walking across the office to the fax machine barely anyone uses, because you’ll get faxes directly to your inbox!
A scanner is another tool that is almost invaluable to the process of going paperless in the office. You can digitize a document with the scanner and save it forever without it taking up any space in the office.
Within your document management system, create a naming convention for all your files just like you would for paper files. This way, everything will be easier to find, and everyone will be on the same digital page.
3. Make It a Regular Habit to Purge Paper
Even if you have drastically reduced your paper usage, you’re probably still collecting papers of some kind. We like to think it’s possible to go 100% paperless, but we know that there is still a need for paper. Learning how to go paperless is an ongoing process, especially with new and innovative technology emerging all the time.
Make it a habit every quarter or so to purge the paper that slipped through the cracks of your digital solution. It could be a regular reminder that maybe there’s another business process that could be digitized or it’s just a way to make sure your digital document management and organization process is still working.
4. Set Goals for Your Company
Who doesn’t love a good workplace initiative? If you make learning how to go paperless in the office a team effort, everyone will be encouraged and held accountable for reducing their paper usage. They might even be inspired to find new and creative digital workplace solutions!
Set a goal for each department and the company as a whole. Maybe you want to reduce paper usage by 50% by the end of the quarter, or maybe you want to be completely digital by the end of the year. Setting the goal and then setting your team up for success to reach that goal will make it more achievable.
5. Show Why Going Paperless in the Office is Such a Benefit to Your Team
No one wants to do a tedious task like scanning hundreds of documents unless they know they’re getting a benefit from it. Demonstrate to your team how converting to a paperless office will make their jobs easier and how much time and effort they’ll save.
They’re more likely to be on board with the change and make it go more smoothly if they can see what they’ll get out of it.
IMS is Your Partner in Going Paperless
Converting to a paperless office means that you’ll need a lot of extra tools and resources on your side if you’re going to make it stick. You need to go from just using a printer and stapler to scanning services, document storage solutions, and even document shredding.
IMS is your solution in your quest towards making your office a paperless, more organized place. Learn more about our services and software capabilities and contact us for a consultation today.