People have been talking up paperless offices ever since the dawn of the digital age.
It’s easy to see why: there are a lot of benefits to going paper-free. Doing so can seriously cut the costs of your firm’s consumables. It can also enable easier collaboration, especially if you maintain an easy-to-access repository for all digital files.
As cloud-storage options become more sophisticated and secure, you’d think every firm would be keen to virtualize their paper trails. However, paper consumption has increased more than 20% over the past two decades, even as new and better tools become available to reduce it. Seems companies just can’t get enough of paper, and many of these are firms that are trying to be paper-free.
Why Do Some Paperless Offices Fail?
Despite good intentions, most firms are still buried in hard copies. So why the disconnect? Phoenix Systems knows the answer:
Because most companies simply don’t think through how they’ll actually go paperless.
Phoenix Systems has helped customers successfully go paperless, but many others make one or more of the following missteps. Avoid them and you’ll have much better odds of finally quashing your firm’s paper addiction.
1. Waiting For the Perfect Moment
As with all changes that are difficult, people tend to put off doing it until conditions are just so. As a result, you find many entrepreneurs vowing to go paperless…just as soon as they have more time, maybe next fall, or when this major project is done. The trouble is, that time never comes.
2. Becoming Overwhelmed by the Backlog
When a firm decides to go paperless, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the endeavor. Does “paperless” mean no paper on hand at all? What does that mean for those cabinets full of old invoices and purchase orders? Do you have to scan them all?
It’s easy to get daunted by this proposition, but the best way to ease in a paperless mandate is to do it gradually. Scan all new documents, and tackle old documents on an ongoing basis.
If you really do want all your archives digitized, there are some pretty inexpensive ways to do it. Desktop scanners are cheaper and faster than ever and some models can process up to 40 pages per minute. Armed with this equipment, an intern or part-timer can digitize the contents of an entire filing cabinet in a few hours.
3. Failing To Set Document-Management Rules
If you’re going to go paperless, it’s in your best interest to set some rules about what your organization needs to keep, and for how long.
A good document-management policy will define all these factors, and will factor in legal considerations (e.g., define how long you must hold on to receipts for tax purposes), as well as company preferences (e.g. determining whether certain types of files aren’t worth keeping).
4. Clinging On To Paper Copies
Nothing quite defeats the purpose of virtualizing all documents like keeping hard copies around, too. Blame discomfort with reading on a screen, blame the standard “we’ve always done it this way” attitudes, but far too many paperless initiatives are sidelined when staffers insist on clinging on to paper copies.
For more information on how to go paperless, contact your Phoenix Systems sales rep.