Even though ideas of a paperless office were introduced decades ago, many organizations are still dragging their feet to join the digital revolution.
An excuse is just an excuse when the benefits to your business are so easy to see.
Going paperless can drastically cut the overhead costs caused by paper, ink, files and filing cabinets. It can also simplify collaboration, especially if you implement an easy-to-access repository for all digital files. In today’s identity theft prone society, the ability to properly secure important confidential information is an absolute necessity for all organizations. And with everyone on a smart phone or tablet, the freedom to be gained by working from anywhere, anytime is hard to deny. Delivering first class customer service at the speed consumers have come to expect becomes as simple as a touch of a button. As cloud-storage options become more sophisticated and secure, it is hard to understand why every business wouldn’t be quick to digitalize their paper trails.
Yet, on average, a person in the United States still shreds through more than 700 pounds of paper a year (The Paperless Project). Even as new and better tools become available and “Save the Planet” activists continue to cry out to reduce our reliance on paper, we just can’t get enough of the stuff.
Why? Most companies still don’t know how they will go paperless. Tackling mountains of paper and halls of filing cabinets seems much too daunting to consider the option. Too many organizations let one of the following excuses keep them from attaining the many benefits of a paperless office. Avoid them and you can finally quit that paper habit.
- Holding out for the when the time is right
If you are waiting for the perfect moment, you’ll just keep waiting. For most of us, work is hectic and busy. There is always more to be done than time to do it. People want to wait until the time is right, so that they have the greatest chance for success. Waiting for the right moment implies that there is going to be a shift from what you have been doing to doing something new. Waiting implies that there is a start and stop to the changes you will make, instead of just a gradual shift toward paperless processes.
In reality, there is no better time than right now. Start now, today, with that mess of paper right there on your desk – you will find that making small steps toward your goal will really stack up in your favor.
- Feeling absolutely overwhelmed
So you have decided to go paperless, and now you are completely repulsed by the literal weight of the task. Does “paperless” mean no paper at all? When in the world will you get to those cabinets full of old invoices and purchase orders? Do you really have to scan every single piece of paper?
It’s easy to be intimidated by it all. Don’t be dismayed. The best way to adopt a paperless office is to do it progressively. Whenever a new document tops your desk, scan it. As for the files and files from days gone by? Work through the piles on an as-you-go basis. Whenever you retrieve something from the filing cabinet, scan it and don’t put it back. This will assist you in keeping the data that you really need.
If you get going and decide that every file you ever filed needs to be digitized, there are inexpensive options available. Much like your desktop computer, desktop scanners have improved significantly; they are faster and better than ever before. Some of the most popular models scanning up to 65 pages per minute. With an intern and a quality scanner, you’ll have your digital filing system complete in no time at all.
- Failing to plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. If you’re going to go paperless, it’s in your best interest to map out your strategy along with the rules of engagement. What does your organization need to keep? For how long? A good paperless plan will accommodate all these questions, their legal implications as well as organizational preferences. Oh no! Did you just find yourself slipping back into excuse #2? No reason to fret, there are many commercially available, low-cost document management software applications with features ready to rescue you.
- Just can’t let it go
Find yourself holding onto that file folder in your meetings like a security blanket? Take advice from the lyrics of a popular song, “Let It Go!” What is the use of going paperless if you are keeping the paper around, too? Too many paperless dreams are crushed by the nightmare of staff insisting on clinging to their copies.
In today’s world, there is very little need to keep hard copies of most documents. Every day more and more organizations join the digital revolution and won’t even accept your paper. (They must be onto something.)
So, trust us. Just let it go. You will find it liberating.
No more excuses. Finally climb out from under all that paper weighing you down. It is possible, and if you plan to keep up in today’s fast paced digital world, it is essential. Experience the freedom and many other benefits of releasing your reliance on paper. Adopt a paperless office today.
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