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Making the decision to transition a business to paperless is certainly not an action any company takes lightly. Although there are obvious benefits to going paperless — such as making less of an impact on the environment, clearing out bulky filing cabinets, improving security, and streamlining the paperwork process for both on-site and remote employees — figuring out tangible steps to make the transition may feel a bit daunting for even the savviest of business leaders. If your business is starting to pave the road to becoming truly paperless, these actionable steps will help you move from clutter to efficiency in no time.
Tip #1: Determine Your Why
Determining your reasons for making the transition to paperless is an important first step. It helps to set clear groundwork for leadership to bring to everyone in the company and gives your early adopters something tangible to adjust to. Studies show that 1 in 3 people adapt well to change, while the other two thirds struggle. However, those not so keen to change will be better influenced by the early adopters as they start to see the changes to their work environment become more normalized by the employees who are more open to the new processes. Establishing a solid reason and then normalizing the changes over time will help everyone adapt more easily.
Tip #2: Make Changes in Phases
Instead of trying to get the whole company to change directions at once, make changes in phases instead. An important first step will be to determine which paperwork must be kept based on any document retention laws that your company must adhere to as well as any other important reasons leadership determines some paper documents must remain on-site. Then you can execute paperless changes in phases such as:
- Implementing software to enable e-signatures on documents, reducing the need to print out documents
- Setting goals and timeframes for reducing the overall percentage of printing
- Mapping out a new paperless workflow so everyone better understands new processes
- Going paperless with your vendors
- Going paperless with your customer base
To further encourage employees to adjust to changes, consider setting up challenges with teams or individuals to provide incentives and rewards for those who adapt to the changes quickly.
Tip #3: Optimize Your Process with Software
To efficiently make the change to paperless, it will be imperative that your company finds software that will not only take the place of your previous paperwork process, but also save time, money (and paper). This is especially true for companies with a complicated manufacturing process where operators needs to receive accurate information in real time. Implementing software that can handle all of the in’s and outs of your paperless process will be a key component in assisting your company as it goes paperless.
Making the Change
There’s no doubt that today’s business world is shifting away from paper and to a more streamlined paperless process. The reasons range anywhere from better environmental sustainability to the need to more secure and automated processes.
But making the change for any company is not something that can be done overnight. Instead, companies will first need to establish a solid reason and foundation for the change in order to attract their early adopters. Then, implementing changes in phases rather than all at once will give everyone within the company time to adjust to the new normal. But most importantly, it will be important for the company to find software that can keep up with the daily needs, provide security, and overall save the company time and money.