We’ve already discussed the benefits of switching to a paperless office and even weighed the pros of cons of doing so, but it can be difficult to apply any advice aimed at larger businesses for a small to medium business (SMB).
Going paperless at work doesn’t happen overnight, so we’re here to help you develop a strategy that works for you. For small to medium-sized businesses, reducing—or even eliminating the use of paper has a multitude of other benefits, including:
- Reduced time searching for paper records
- A tidier office space
- Cost savings on paper and ink
Let’s look at actionable steps you can take in your SMB to start moving towards a paperless office.
1. Audit What You Print
It’s difficult to keep track of who’s printing what, when, and why. Start tracking all print jobs and make sure your employees are aware of what they’re printing. Do they need to print all those documents?
Paper makes up 50% of waste a business produces. Reducing your number of print jobs would reduce waste and save you a ton of money on ink, paper, and printer maintenance costs.
2. Find Online Applications for Your Process
Right now, you’re probably completing most of your business processes on paper, but there are tons of cloud-based applications that will allow you to do the same tasks and share the same data just as easily.
The more areas of your business you can move to the cloud, including accounts payable and Human Resources, the more streamlined your business will become.
Some useful cloud-based applications that could work for your SMB include:
- FileBound for document management
- CompleteCloud for VoIP and cloud storage
- Evernote for taking digital notes
3. Train and Incentivize Your Employees
Reducing paper in the office is going to change how you complete basic business processes, so your employees will need to be re-trained on new systems and processes.
Work closely with your staff to ensure they understand how to use electronic documents and make sure they’re on board with the changes.
To help get your team on board with the new paperless office, set up an incentive. You could give your staff a printing budget and reward them for printing fewer documents.
4. Scan Paperwork You Receive from Other People
Not every company is making a paperless office a priority (even though they should), so you’re probably going to receive paperwork from other businesses and partners.
Keeping those papers in a filing cabinet in the closet will work against your paperless office goals, so when you get paperwork from other companies, scan them into your cloud storage system.
Document scanners are reasonably affordable, and you can store the paperwork in a PDF format that’s easy to find and navigate. If you feel like there are too many papers to scan, get a secure document scanning company like us to do the work for you.
5. Update Your Office & Phase Out Old Technology
With less space taken up by documents, you can make your office a more efficient workplace. Consider buying multiple monitors so your staff can view more than one document at a time and phase out old technology like fax machines. If you still need to send and receive faxes, fax software lets you send and receive faxes as electronic documents—which means less paperwork and lower costs.
Make Your Small Business Paperless with Paper Free Office Solutions
There may be growing pains when you decide to make your SMB paperless, but in the end, it will be worth it – we promise.
The team at Paper Free Office Solutions and IMS Technology Group can help set you up with the cloud-based applications you need to run your business and provide scanning and shredding services for your existing documents.
Contact IMS today to see how our paperless solutions for small businesses can help you.