How to become a paperless office

Since today's business world is highly digital, physical paperwork is becoming obsolete, as it forces companies to slow down and work at the pace of manual labor. Computers, on the other hand, can be much more efficient than people, automatically organizing documents and making them available to anyone in the company.

The decision to go paperless and convert records to digital formats is a huge step and should not be taken lightly. Depending on the size of a firm's physical archive, the process could take days to complete, meaning organizations need to set aside time to do so. Neglecting to delegate responsibility to allocate the appropriate amount of time will only cause headache and potential problems down the line.

Making the transition

The first step to going paperless is cumbersome, as decision-makers need to manually sort through documents to determine which records are mission-critical and which are not necessary to convert to digital format. In many cases, this process will actually make organizations more efficient because it allows them to disregard or dispose of a substantial amount of paperwork that serves little purpose.

By using document management software, companies can scan important files into their virtual system and create folders for separate categories. Although the conversion process is important to becoming more productive, simply moving records from one place to another won't improve efficiency. Organization is key and executives need to ensure they create digital archives that are easy to use, convenient and do not create virtual clutter.

Once all the important files are converted to a digital format and stored someplace safe, businesses need to back it all up. There are a number choices decision-makers can opt for in this phase, including implementing physical backup strategies that use USB and portable hard drives or leveraging cloud computing and other next-generation technologies.

After all is said and done, executives need to double-check to make sure all important documents are protected. Once this is complete, companies can shred the remaining physical paperwork that isn't necessary. This is an important step, as many organizations often fall victim to a data breach because of poor disposal practices.

Going paperless is a big step for an organization. And while the decision to do so can enhance productivity, businesses need to prepare and plan ahead for the transition.