Can you imagine a world without filing cabinets stuffed to the brim with outdated paperwork? Many businesses would readily remove such furniture from their offices and backrooms, but don't know any easy ways to go paperless at work. Leaders may fear that paperless systems will be expensive and difficult for their workforces to adopt.
Fortunately, a variety of inexpensive technologies now make it possible to free your expanding business of paper through small, operational tweaks.
There are some advantages to uncovering ways to go paperless at work. It's more environmentally friendly, of course, but it may also be more secure and convenient because cloud-based systems facilitate information access from anywhere, anytime. Being a paperless office can also promote regular backups, meaning that the days of losing an important customer record could be behind you!
The following are just some of the many ways to go paperless at work.
Mobile Document Management
Document management company Xerox has leveraged the Internet of Things to develop mobile applications that interface with office printers. This means that if you have a Xerox machine, you can download free apps to scan, fax, email and store documents directly from your smartphone or tablet without printing them first. The apps offer more ways to go paperless at work by signing documents and contracts electronically, and then saving and uploading the fully executed versions to cloud storage via Dropbox, Box or OneDrive.
IBM and smaller companies like Zoho Docs also offer a variety of mobile business apps. IBM's FileNet Content Manager serves as a virtual file cabinet, facilitating streamlined mobile access to all of your business's content stores, while Zoho Docs' mobile app for iOS and Android provides on-the-job, in-the-cloud scanning, editing, sharing and storing of every type of work-related document.
Electronic payroll and accounting is one of many ways to go paperless at work. It can help reduce the number of paper invoices and checks your business sends out by moving all related processes into the cloud. Making this transition can have efficiency and cost benefits for businesses. But before proceeding, make sure you're adhering to relevant federal and state laws. For instance, many states require written authorization from employees to establish payment through direct deposit.
Many businesses still rely on direct mailings, ignoring the fact that most of these end up in landfills—unread.
Instead of spending your advertising budget (and sacrificing trees) on a direct mail campaign, consider launching email newsletters targeted to different customer segments. You can review available best practices online, and create, drive, automate and track your campaigns with free services like MailChimp, GetResponse and Constant Contact.
If you sell anything in a physical location, it is easy to go through reams of paper printing customer receipts every week. And, let's not forget about all the paper receipts you store when you buy items to run your business.
Solutions such as TransactionTree and GiveReceipt simplify the emailing of customer receipts and also provide a way to collect customer addresses for the email marketing campaigns referenced above. Also, don't forget the additional step of asking other vendors to email receipts to you if possible.
Think of all of the traditional uses of paper in business gatherings. One of the first ways to go paperless at work is by getting rid of printed agendas and handouts. You can project your most critical information onto the conference room screen or even into a shared, online collaboration space. Instead of exchanging hard copy business cards, transition your staff to a digital app like Knowee or Scannable. Your people can build and update their own digital cards, as well as store and sort through other cards they've received.
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