Working in a paperless office comes with numerous perks. The most noticeable one is heightened concentration, which ultimately reflects in employees’ overall productivity. Also, a paper-free office is generally easier to manage, both from an administrative and financial point of view. Indeed, the process of going paperless needs not be a painstaking one. Neither should the cost be exorbitant.
All you require is to determine the kind of paperwork that you can convert into a digital footprint. Then, you should identify the right type of software to help with the conversions. If you have relevant human resources such as in-house IT gurus, you are already a step ahead. Even if you do not, the process is relatively easy. Read on to uncover the five steps to a nearly paperless office.
Digitize Your Internal Operations
If thinking of going paperless, the first area you want to address is your internal operations. Think of the endless trips you usually make to the printer, just to produce office memos, circulars, and other printouts. Also consider the time you take to circulate these to your employees. Now, imagine how much time and resources you could save by leveraging document-sharing resources.
Some of these resources include Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365. As you can see, these are products with which you are probably already familiar. One of the most remarkable things about these resources is that they ensure seamless interactions between you and your entire team. Even better, there is a huge stockpile of platforms to choose from. While some may require you to register for paid memberships, most of these platforms are free to use. Of course, unpaid versions may not be very dependable in terms of document protection. However, a little homework is all you need to uncover a platform that offers greater reliability without constraining your finances significantly. All in all, these platforms allow you to edit documents easily as well as store them for future reference. Above all, interactions are real-time.
Now, Proceed To Your Bills
After wrapping up with your internal operations, the next area to make paperless is your bill payments and statements. Bill payments are an indispensable part of office operations. Whether they are payments targeting employees, suppliers, or creditors, there will always be bills to clear. Depending on the nature of your work, bill payments may form a large proportion of your office paper documents. But offline bill payments come with lots of drawbacks. Envelops, postages, checks and other forms of bills may deal a massive financial blow to your business. That is especially true for startups or companies struggling to stay afloat.
However, you need not worry about possible financial loopholes in your business. Not when you can perform all your bill payments online. This allows you to save money, and also time. That is because transactions done online are almost instantaneous. The best part is that such transactions are easy to trace. You no longer need to turn your office cabinet inside out looking for a misplaced document. With a click of a button, you can access all your digital files for reference. Needless to mention, online bill payments lend further credibility to your website, especially if yours is an already established online retail outlet.
Adopt Reliable File Transfer Systems
We have already highlighted a few resources that can help you manage your internal operations. However, these resources are limited mainly in size and number of files they can transfer. If transferring or storing large files, you might consider investing in reliable file transfer software such as Dropbox.
Apart from offering customized file storage features, also check on the safety provisions of a file storage software before choosing it. At the very least, go for hacker-proof software. The last thing you want is to have sensitive office information accessed by unauthorized persons. Thankfully, the tech industry is always alive to such threats. With many companies occasionally losing confidential information to malware and other digitally-invasive software, experts are continually coming up with fail-proof data protection systems.
Another thing you may want to consider when choosing a file transfer system is the flexibility it offers. For example, can the platform synchronize with mobile devices? Remember, you are not permanently stationed in your office. At times, you may wish to transfer urgent files across to your employees when neither of you is officially on duty. That’s when a mobile device will come in handy.
Conduct Virtual Office Meetings
A paperless office enables you to schedule and conduct office meetings almost effortlessly. Besides, it all comes down to the software you select. For starters, you should choose software that is compatible with both computers and mobile devices. That makes it possible to have a meeting with your entire office staff regardless of geographical barriers. A notable mention is Skype. This platform allows you to store files automatically as well as archive chats. Software that helps unlimited remote access to your office computers is a plus.
This makes it possible to remotely retrieve information from your office, as well as manage other office tasks that would have otherwise been impossible to achieve. However, you should remember that most of the time, you will be holding real-time office meetings. So, wherever you are based, you will require a reliable internet connection. Certain platforms may bill you over and above what the standard charges in your region are. No need to fret though, as the costs of holding these virtual meetings are relatively affordable. Other standard features to look out for include the clarity of sounds and videos, file-sharing and screen sharing capabilities, as well as the ability to access whiteboards.
Engage Your Clients and Prospects Online
Lastly, online correspondences go a long way in saving your office from unnecessary paperwork. Gone are the days when correspondences were done via post office. And though fast-moving courier services such as those offered by airline companies did a lot in reducing the time spent between postal letters, they sure came with heftier price tags. So, they solved one problem but ended up creating another.
Luckily, the internet made it all faster and cheaper to manage clients and prospects. Here if you want to learn more about prospects and clients then visit here on The Balance SMB. From reminders to pitch emails and even real-time chats; you can achieve all these online. In some cases, you get immediate feedback. That can be instrumental where you wish to track the progress of an issue with your clients and prospects. For example, by engaging a client in real time, you can quickly shoot down a negative review of your company. You will be able to swiftly locate the reviewer and invite them into a one-on-one, interactive chat. Picture how long it would take to reach such a person if the only means of communication were through post.
Evidently, the process of achieving a paperless office is not as painstaking as many would want to believe. As we mentioned, it all comes down to identifying the prime areas for digitalization, then adopting the right software for the same.
Not only is a paperless office tidier than a paper-based one, but it also comes with lots of time and cost-saving benefits.