Innovations in technology have changed our lives. There are a lot of benefits that have come about from all these innovations. One of those benefits is that it allowed companies to go paperless.
Paper is an essential part of any business. It’s used for documents, packagings, and even labels.
There are contracts, business plans, receipts, labels, notes, etc.
Your business is swimming in more paper than you realize.
And before you realize it, these things are piling up. They’re starting to take up space and it’s getting harder and harder to find what you’re looking for.
And there are a lot of reasons why companies should go paperless.
Benefits of going paperless
Going paperless obviously means saving on paper. But it’s actually more than that.
Paperless is green
According to the Worldwatch Institute, it emits an equivalent to 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide to produce just one tonne of paper.
And according to research conducted by Kyocera, the average UK employee uses 45 pieces of paper every single day. That amounts to 900 pieces each month per employee. The same employees admitted to actually only using around two-thirds of this amount of paper.
So, that’s about 300 pieces of paper going to waste each month per employee.
And when we waste paper, we’re not just wasting the paper itself but also all the resources used in making each piece and the carbon footprint it emitted in the production stage.
So, just imagine how much paper and, more importantly, how much paper waste is being produced for something that’s only being thrown away anyway.
Picture every business going paperless. Now, picture how many trees can be saved if that happens.
It sounds impossible but we have to start somewhere. You can always be part of the solution.
Paperless is efficient
ILM Corporation estimated that searching through piles of paper files can take up about 30 percent of employee time.
One example of how this takes time is when your employees have to look for, say, a document or a contract manually amongst all other paperwork they have on their desks. With digital documents, instead of looking for a document manually, they can just simply search for the keywords on their computers and, voila, there’s the document.
30 percent doesn’t seem like a lot of time wasted…
Actually, it does seem a lot.
In retail, for example, this 30%(or more) of time is spent in changing price labels on shelves when it can actually be used assisting customers, undergoing more training(if needed), and other more important tasks.
Imagine this 30% of time piling up. This amount of time can be used not just for your employees to do more important tasks in your company but, more valuably, be used to conduct recreational activities—such as yoga classes, team buildings, or even just group eat-outs— that could improve employee morale and well-being.
Going paperless can save you money
Going paperless doesn’t only save you paper. It also saves you the money that you spend on paper, ink, storage space, and other printing needs.
According to MultiBriefs, the average U.S. office spends around $80 worth of paper every year on each employee. Even if you only have 10 employees, that would still amount to $800 per year which doesn’t sound very practical.
Aside from spending on printing needs, when you rely on physical copies of documents, you’d need to invest in file cabinets and locks—and duplicates.
This can mean a significant amount of money especially when you compare it to, say, investing in a cloud storage system.
…and storage space
MultiBriefs also mentioned that 50 percent to 70 percent of office spaces are dedicated solely to filing and storage of documentation.
Yes, one sheet of paper doesn’t take up too much space. However, when it’s tens of thousands of sheets of papers, well, that’s a whole different situation.
Now, these papers have to stored somewhere, right?
Before you realize it, you have an entire room dedicated to just papers.
By going paperless, you can free up so much space in your office which you can then use for meetings, group lunches, or other recreational activities for your employees.
However, going digital eliminates these problems. Plus, this way, your files can be accessed anytime, anywhere, by the right people.
Storing your critical and confidential information such as customer details, job details, contracts, finances, NDA’s, etc., in your office can be risky. It can get lost due to theft, fire, flood, etc.
Furthermore, storing your files in the cloud is safer as digital documents can be encrypted and protected by several layers of security. Plus, you can choose which individuals can have access to which files.
Do transactions faster
Businesses are made transactions made here and there. One example is the invoice. Which is pretty much at the end of any transactions. This is where your company finally gets paid.
When it comes to sending invoices, going digital is definitely a lot faster and cheaper.
Unlike with sending paper invoices, digital invoices can be sent to clients through email as easy as 1, 2, 3. On top of that, you get to save on paper, ink, envelopes, and postage.
And with this faster way of sending files and invoices, transactions actually get done faster than when doing it with the physical mailing of documents.
Spread information more efficiently
With digitalization, it becomes easier to transfer and spread information.
In the past, we’re used to passing notes and posting memorandums hoping that all relevant employees will get to see it. But that usually just ends up getting lost in the rotation and not everybody not seeing it.
The result— uncoordinated knowledge.
But with digitalization, you can send announcements, notes, reminders, and memorandums in one click and it will surely get sent to everyone involved.
Well-coordinated knowledge can improve teamwork, allow for innovation, and prevent knowledge hoarding among employees.
This will also allow employees to collaborate easily in the cloud instead of waiting for each co-worker to hand them paper documents.
Sure, sure. These are nice benefits. But, how can you do it?
Where do you start?
Tips for going paperless
Now, after reading the benefits, who wouldn’t love to save time, money, be green, or be more secure?
Now here comes the challenge: actually going paperless and staying paperless.
So how do you do it?
Here are some tips:
It all starts with you
This might surprise you but according to a survey by Medium, 47% of employees said that one of the top three reasons for not going paperless was a lack of management initiatives or mandates.
They mentioned that they are ready to make the switch to going paperless but they’re just waiting for management to take the first steps and provide them the appropriate tools.
So, yes, it all starts with you. Your employees expect you to take initiative and step up.
You are their leader after all.
Get everyone involved in going paperless
No matter how strong of an example you set on going paperless if your employees are not totally on board and committed to using less to no paper at all, your initiative will just go to waste.
Show your employees how this benefits them
Make it clear to your employees how going paperless can make their jobs easier— how it saves their time and effort. When they see all the positive ways going paperless can affect them, they’d be more likely to get on board.
Show them how going paperless helps with customer service
Most consumers today actually prefer electronic or digital correspondence to paper correspondence.
Because digital correspondence is actually easier to handle, more secure, and faster to send and receive.
Ans we all know how important customer service is to any company.
Organize your documents
Time for the dirty work!
Now, before you start scanning every document onto their new home in the cloud, we suggest you read these steps first:
- • Create a unified labeling/filing system amongst everyone in your company—it may be by clients’ names, by year, etc. This labeling/filing system should be coordinated to each and every department.
- • Divide the work among employees. Each department must be responsible for their own files.
- • Consider setting a “statute of limitations” for documents. If a document exceeds that statute of limitations, shred it.
- • Set a goal or a deadline for when each department should have all their files and documents ready to be input into the digital system.
- • Keep track of each department to make sure they’re right on track.
Having everyone working together and working as smoothly as possible is key to achieving a successful file organizing.
Get a software
While all the busy work is happening, what you need to do is to find the right digital storage software that’s fit for your company and your needs.
Sit down and make a list of all the things you’re looking for in a software.
Usually, you’d look for data backup, storage size, number of users who has access, automation, amongst other things.
However, it’s a whole different thing if it’s not solely storage you are looking for.
For example, you’re a retailer who wants to go paperless with your shelf labels.
You might be looking for ESL’s with an advanced solution platform that offers fast and real-time updates, has a central server and a cloud server, one that’s easily installed, has a nice design, etc.
It really all comes down to what your company needs.
Spread the news
Now that you’ve successfully made the switch to going paperless, you can spread the good news of going green. Tell your clients and everyone on your email list.
Send an email to all the relevant people about the switch you’ve made and address all concerns about security.
Make sure they’re aware of the software you are using and introduce them to the system so that they know how it works and how to use it.
Enjoy the benefits
Once you’ve successfully made the switch to going paperless, it’s usually much easier to stay paperless.
The impacts you’d feel at the initial stages are the minimized need to print and to fix and change labels.
These and more benefits will only grow to make your office life easier and smoother.
Going paperless doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process.
If you want to reduce your paper consumption and contribute to the environment, you have to commit to it—start planning and strategizing.
A full transition can take months, years even. Hopefully, the tips on this article make the process easier, help minimize mistakes, and maximize effectiveness.
The role of ESL technology in green business
Thankfully, the rise of the digital era has made the shift so much easier, with the help of technology that can be an alternative to (if not totally replace) paper-involving business procedures.
SOLUM is a global leader in providing digital solutions that could, in future, cause paper labels and signages in retail stores to become extinct. Our primary goal is to increase ROI in the long term, optimize in-house systems, and reduce the manual labor involved in replacing every single paper label in stores.
But creating more socially-conscious business decisions? Definitely a major plus.
To learn more about how we can help with your transition to go paperless, you can contact us here.