Going paperless isn’t a particularly difficult endeavor for most businesses. While there is some work to be done in terms of scanning files and establishing a cohesive document management and storage strategy, a little planning and employee education can make the process go smoothly.
Another major component of a successful migration to digital office practices is understanding that, in some limited and specific instances, paper may still need to be used. Instead of paperless, think less paper. Although most businesses can eliminate the vast majority of their obligations to use physical documents, they need to be ready when a client specifically asks for a hard copy or one is required by law or industry regulation.
CIO.com points out that certain legal documents are often required to be presented as a physical copy – although this is starting to change in some federal and state courts. For law offices making the changeover, they can focus on digitizing research material, records and other internal items and still end up with significant benefits in terms of cost and time savings. And while these businesses may not completely eliminate their printing needs, they can significantly reduce them.
As far as concerns relating to organizing the new, digital files, companies should create a few workflows to save time. BBC Business recommends creating workflows that address unique needs – for example, the long-term storage required for some tax documents. By sharing a standardized process with employees, companies can easily digitize current paper records as well as future items that arrive in physical form. Having all staff follow the same process in terms of naming and storing digital files also allows for easier and simpler search and retrieval functions.