Switching from paper-based operations to an electronic office provides a variety of undisputable benefits related to reduced spending and more accurate operations. Making sure that the change is as quick, easy and painless as possible should be a priority for businesses so that they begin realizing these advantages as soon as possible.
Here are I see four tips that can help both the transition to a digital workplace and continuing operations using technology like automated data collection and electronic document management go smoothly:
1. Make both education and training priorities
The two concepts sound similar, but helping staff members understand both how and why their employer is switching to a different method of business operations is important. Technical training related to best practices for naming, sorting and storing electronic documents, use of hardware like scanners and how to efficiently search files for specific items should all be addressed. This is especially true for long-term employees who are likely used to following certain procedures and may need some more time or training to adjust to completely new ways of performing their daily tasks. Also important for these workers is helping them grasp the reasoning behind changing various processes that they were comfortable using. A glimpse into the reasoning that went into the switch can help promote compliance.
2. Consider the secondary changes that need to be made
While most of the work toward a successful conversion will go toward scanning and converting documents, businesses should also consider other alterations that have to occur in a digital-first environment. CIO.com points out that digital signatures are one common way that time can be saved when electronic documents are used. Instead of having to print out a hard copy, sign it, and scan it back into the system – creating two versions that have to be reconciled – there are various digital signature programs that can be used to save more time and money.
3. Stay organized
The major process of scanning and sorting documents happens when the digital switch first takes place, as years of important records are converted into digital files. And while businesses can significantly reduce the amount of incoming paper by requesting electronic bills, communicating through email first and using other measures, there are still some instances where less advanced vendors, clients and other business partners will send in hard copies of invoices and other items. Having a process in place to organize and scan incoming documents will keep electronic records current.
4. Only print what’s absolutely necessary
The National Federation of Independent Business says that many forms used in day-to-day operations, be they for internal or external use, can be replicated with electronic versions. This reduces the amount of printing required, lowering associated costs, and makes use easier by allowing remote access. Having forms available on a website or through email is especially beneficial for customers as they no longer have to physically travel to a location to pick up a specific form or document.