The paperless office is a concept that has captured the imagination of many professionals whose desks are covered in clutter. The frustration of a cluttered desk can distract you and leave you feeling flat. Some years ago the idea of the paperless office was looked upon as a solution to a cluttered office. The concept of a paperless or digital office is one of the newer, less understood methods of drastically increasing organisation, office efficiency and reducing costs.
What is a paperless or digital office?
Basically, the term "paperless office" describes the process of transferring records from paper to computer or saving electronic documents in the cloud without printing a physical copy. Sometimes the paperless office is referred to as "document imaging" or a "digitalised office". Often mistaken as a technology initiative, implementation of the paperless office continues to be in slow motion in many businesses but is achievable for any business.
The paperless office is so much more than just cutting down paper. A good system is designed to increase productivity, save time and money by automating document storage, manipulation and retrieval. Really, it is about the ability to move information as quickly as possible.
With a paperless office you will never lose another document, and disasters like fires can never destroy your valuable information. You save storage in the office space as you don't need multitudes of filing cabinets and security is much better with a paperless office as well, since you can control who sees what documents.
Going digital is actually an investment, since it results in reduced costs for printing, mailing, shipping and storage of documents. Businesses are also able to improve service through implementing a digitalised document storage system since client records are much easier to find and reference.
Using a digitalised system helps eliminate redundant information, since there is no need for multiple departments or employees to have printed copies of the same document. This also eliminates the need to distribute updated versions of documents. Once a document is updated in the digital system the new version is immediately available to all who have access to it.
When documents are stored electronically instead of having physical copies filed away, fewer paper records will be produced and therefore storage space required will be minimised. This can result in significant savings for businesses who are located in main cities, where office space comes at a premium.
In order to embrace the idea of the paperless office, people have to change their habit of using paper. Getting employees to accept a paperless office requires user-friendly systems that allow people to actually work without paper and not sacrifice job performance. As with all new systems, there is a learning curve and you have to expect it will take time to adjust.
The marketplace for paperless office technology has exploded and intense competition has brought prices down. Technology has finally reached the point where a paperless office is actually within reach. The options for storing digital documents are endless and depending on your specific needs and budget there is an option for everyone. If you are a small business with limited monetary resources then Google Drive or Dropbox is a great place to store your electronic documents. If you are a larger business with more complex needs then using something like Net Documents, M Files or DocuXplorer would be a better option.
Much has been written about the paperless or digital office as a goal that was never achieved. While prediction of the paperless office began over 16 years ago, statistics show that 90% of the world's information is still on paper. Nevertheless, the longstanding goal of creating a paperless or digital office is finally beginning to emerge.
Is it worth going digital?
When you think about the cost savings, productivity and efficiency of your business, going to a paperless or digital office is a 'no brainer'. It's time to move with the times and make your business more efficient. Moving your documents to a digital system will ensure your business is cost effective, productive and secure. If you need assistance getting your digital office set up then contact PA Excellence to find out how we can help you move to a more efficient system.