As we become more environmentally aware, companies are feeling greater pressure to achieve sustainability and reduce waste. While paper documents and filing cabinets have been the staple for every business for almost as long as the written word has existed, it no longer fits our needs as a society.
When you take into account that approximately half of business waste is paper, and that Australians use 230kg of paper per person each year, it’s clear that electronic data services are a good choice. Advances in technology are making it easier, and cheaper, to go paperless, meaning more and more companies are making the move to paperless systems, and you can too, with a few simple steps.
Moving to a paperless system isn’t something that can be achieved overnight. By having a strategy in place, with clear goals and achievable timelines, you and your employees will be empowered to successfully transition.
If being entirely paperless isn’t feasible for your company, aim for significant reductions instead. Review the paper needs of each department and collaborate with team leaders to set your targets, this will ensure they are realistic.
A major contribution to a successful move to paperless is the buy in and engagement of your employees. Not everyone embraces change, so make sure you communicate the benefits of a paperless system. Employees need to understand the time they will save, and how much easier their job will become, or they may be resistant to change. When developing your transition plan and setting targets, build in rewards for teams that meet their timeframes so that employees are encouraged to be engaged.
Organise Your Documents
Once you know what can and can’t be made paperless, you’ll need to establish a system that can be used by anyone. Consistency is key for document storage, whether physical or electronic. The good news is, you probably have systems already in place that could be translated across to your paperless system.
Place responsibility on each department to manage their own documents, they know their needs best after all. Clearly communicate your timelines and set realistic goals with tangible rewards for time, quantity and quality targets.
This is also an excellent opportunity to declutter your files and destroy any expired files. This will reduce the number of files needed to be transferred to your new system and clear some space in your office. Grace can help you with all your destruction needs.
Explore Software Options
To ensure your new system is going to do all you need it to, make a list of what you’re looking for. Break this down into ‘wants’ and ‘needs’, so you have a clear picture of things that are non-negotiable and things you’re willing to let go to stay within budget.
From here, you can research your options knowing exactly what you’re looking for. Once you have some options in mind, ask if you and a few of your employees can test the software. If you can get a few key people who will be using the system day in, day out, to run through it prior to making a commitment, you’re going to safe yourself from headaches in the long run.
Once you’ve selected your system, organise training for team leaders and heads of departments. Establish a training guide for all your employees and make sure they have access to support over the initial transition phase.
Also, keep in mind data security and redundancy planning. Look for a system that provides back up and redundancy systems, preferably in Australia to reduce the risks faced by data that goes offshore. Keeping everything in Australia means it’s not exposed to potential breaches or service continuity issues beyond the reach of Australia’s judicial system.
You’ve got your software, your teams are raring to go, you know when everything needs to be completed, but where do you start?
First things first, every new piece of paperwork coming in goes straight on the system. Don’t let that backlog grow anymore than it has too. Besides, starting straight off the bat will help your employees get into the swing of using a paperless system, reducing the risk of them falling back into old, paper based habits.
If you’re eyeing that backlog of files with a sense of despair, don’t make the mistake of trying to tackle it all at once. And don’t expect your employees to power through it while learning the system and keeping up with their daily tasks, you’ll only be setting yourselves up for failure. Work through it methodically as you can or hire the professionals. Grace’s comprehensive information management services include specialised scanning services.
You did it, you’ve got your business running a paperless system and you’re starting to see the benefits. Your employees are working faster, you’re spending less on printing materials and you’ve taken a big step in improving your company’s sustainability.
Now let your clients know. Some may express concerns regarding data security or changes in the way they communicate with you. Reassure them that their data is protected and that a paperless approach will improve communication and save time using electronic forms and signatures. Assist them in adjusting to the change because once they see the benefits of a paperless system, they’ll be out shopping for one of their own.
Information Management with Grace
Leverage Grace’s proven expertise and excellence in information management to ensure your information is safe, secure and accessible. We offer a tailored range of bespoke information management services, including scanning, record management systems, data storage, archiving, mailroom, destruction and information security.
Our team of specialists will consult with you at length to identify your business needs, allowing us to develop a comprehensive management solution for you. Explore our full service offering and let Grace handle your information management needs.