What Does Going Paperless Mean?
To put it simply, going paperless means eliminating all paper used in homes, schools, or office environments. Instead of using paper to archive and exchange information, it’s done through digital means. Common paperless choices include pay checks, tax returns and bills.
Benefits of Going Paperless:
There are plenty of benefits to be gained by reducing the use of paper in your office. Below, we have outlined a comprehensive list of the benefits to going paperless.
Organizing and keeping track of papers manually can be time-consuming. Searching through a messy, cluttered stack of papers for the right document can take a lot of time.
Disorganization can seriously hamper your efficiency. IKEA carried out a study with Sigma Dos and found that the average person spends around .
Going paperless can save you from the headache of having to declutter your storage spaces and help you organize everything in one, uniform digital platform. This way, you won’t have to fret about that pressing invoice you can’t seem to find.
Digitalization means that your entire team can have access to necessary documents whenever they want. With a digital platform, they don’t have to go through the hassle of requesting files from others or searching through paper stacks to find what they need.
Once you go paperless, it becomes quite easy for the staff to know where to access necessary information. Moreover, retrieving old documents from emails or other digital platforms becomes very easy. The risk of misplacing files is also minimized.
If you haven’t gone paperless yet, you are likely to incur the costs of printer upkeep, toner and ink replacement and postage. This is why companies, on average, save $80 per employee once they switch to a paperless office.
Apart from physical costs, paperless work can reduce costs attached to inefficiency as well. Given that paperless work can save a lot of time, instead of doing manual paperwork, employees can invest more time on valuable work.
An Eco-friendly Approach:
A reduction in reliance on paper can result in equipping you with a more sustainable approach towards managing your work.
According to Catalog Spree and PaperKarma, a U.S. employee, on average, uses 10,000 sheets of paper per annum. Moreover, even after recycling, the amount of paper used in offices in the U.S. continues to .
If you opt for a paperless office, you can help save our precious environment, as increased usage of paper is linked with deforestation.
Other than paper, ink and ink cartridges are very harmful to the environment. This is because around 3 quartz of oil is used to manufacture ink cartridges.
Going paperless can not only help you to run a sustainable business, but can assist in building a better brand image between you and your audiences. In our age, Nielsen found .
Sensitive files can be a liability when misplaced. If they get misplaced, information can be stolen and compromised. A paperless approach can provide a much higher level of security for businesses worried about access control, as there are several safeguards in place such as encryptions, firewalls, and banking security measures that can help you protect your digital documents.
Top 5 Tips for Going Paperless at Home:
Sign-up for eStatements:
Instead of receiving your bills on paper, mailed to you every month, you can sign up for E-statements. Institutions offering electronic statements include banks, cable and utility companies.
You can sign-up for electronic statements by going over to a company’s website of choice and adding your account number or other identification information. It may be a time-consuming process, but you will see an immediate reduction in your paper usage.
Use Your Tablets or Cell Phones for Making Notes
Making small changes in your lifestyle, like the one mentioned above, can help you save large amounts of wasted paper. For instance, instead of making a grocery list on paper, you can write it on your smartphone.
Digitize Your Documents
You can scan the documents you need to keep and store them on your laptops’ hard drive. This can help you declutter the mess around your office and help you to better access your documents, without spending time searching through file folders or cabinets.
Rethink Your Subscriptions
Cancel newspaper and paper-based subscriptions you don’t need in order to reduce the amount of paper arriving at your home. You can reassess how you receive your news too, as most newspapers now offer website subscriptions.
Digitalize Your Signatures:
There are times where you receive emails that require you to sign a few documents and send them back. You can save time and paper by using a digital signature over printing out and physically signing a document. Create and save your signature on your laptop for future use.
Opt-out of Junk Mail Lists:
Opting out of junk mail lists help you control the amount of useful mail that you receive. By doing so, you’ll limit incoming mail to only the essentials; therefore, the amount of paper used in your house lessens.
Top 5 Tips for Going Paperless at Work:
Ask Your Vendors to Send in Invoices by Email:
You can always ask your vendors to send you invoices through email. This will help you organize invoices in the form of PDFs on your laptop. You can access these quite easily, without needing to go through numerous physical receipts.
Share Documents Online:
Platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox can help you share all of your files with employees digitally. Employees can access these documents from their home computers and phones and chat with you simultaneously. This makes the whole process of communicating and scanning documents less of a hassle. This not only ensures going paperless but enhances your security.
Reward Employees Who Help You Go Paperless:
You can incentivize the process of going paperless at the workplace. Encourage and reward employees to ditch paper and use laptops! Incentives motivate employees to go and stay green.
A proper reward and recognition system can be set up and a target can be set, so employees are given an objective to meet. If they meet their objectives, they’ll be rewarded. It’s that simple.
Get Rid of Old Technologies:
In case you are using old technologies such as fax machines, you should get rid of them as soon as possible! By eliminating fax machines, you drastically reduce the use of paper on your end. Technology like laptops and smartphones are readily available in the market and can send the same documents that fax machines can, only quicker and cleaner.
Across different models and price ranges, you can choose technology that is best suited for you. Some offices still have cabinets full of documents. Why not start scanning and digitizing old files to prepare your business to go green and keep up with today’s new ways of doing business.
Scan Your Business Cards:
If you are a representative of a business that attends several events, scanning your business cards can be a good way to go. Sharing scanned business cards can help you save a lot of paper. In addition, going through business card diaries, containing multiple cards, can be tiresome where accessing scanned cards is far more convenient.
Top Apps to Go Paperless in 2021
There are a couple of brilliant apps on the market that help you go paperless! Here are two of the best options you can check out if you want to achieve a paperless workplace, along with a paperless home:
- Efficient barcode scanning that replaces the need for manual data entry.
- Option available for successive scanning, so more packages can be covered in less time.
- Smart duplication detector makes sure no package is scanned twice.
- This digital mailroom comes equipped with visual notifications and reminders, so recipients always know when to pick up a package.
- Alternative options for delivery ensure safety precautions are being taken.
- All mail information is effectively stored in the directory and users can go through it whenever they want to look for specific information.
- Silver - $94.99/month: This plan offers a custom label for deliveries and co-branded email notifications. You also get a customized email sender address, robust user permissions, and dedicated onboarding sessions.
- Gold - $113.99/month: Gold plan features include streamlined recipient actions. You can forward, hold, and discard delivery. Options are available to scan and send letter mail content.
- Platinum - Custom Quote/month: Platinum plan features include API access and a customized onboarding program. You can also have up to four dedicated onboarding sessions per month. Platinum also supports mailrooms in multiple languages.
- Allows you to track your package by scanning its tracking number through a camera. This eliminates the need for manual scanning.
- Users are given options to hold, transfer and discard their package without signing any slips.
- Augmented reality features measure the dimensions of your package without the need for any measuring tape!
- Users can generate labels for their packages and leave it for pickup from the comfort of their homes. This reduces paper usage that would have otherwise been necessary when going to the courier stores for label generation.
- Senders can add visually enhanced notifications for recipients to let them know what to expect from their package.
- Along with being able to initiate outbound packages, users also have the option to compare different courier rates.
The Parcel is app is free to use. It does, however, cost users to generate in-app labels for outbound shipping. Costs vary based on shipping method, package size and quantity.
With smooth integration between both PackageX Parcel and Mailroom, employees and recipients can effortlessly go paperless both at home and work.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Even though many companies have taken steps to digitize their work processes, there are still a large number of businesses that are stuck using traditional, paper-based processes. It’s not uncommon to have a few questions when deciding if you should go completely paperless.
Below, we have included some of the most common questions people ask, and we have included their answers!
How Do You Transition to a Paperless Office?
The initial step towards setting up a paperless office is to set the correct expectations for employees. You need to ensure that all of your employees understand the importance of going paperless and know the benefit of doing it for themselves and the organization as a whole.
Once done, you need to set a deadline for implementing the process to go paperless. By considering the tips to go paperless above, you can define deadlines and ensure the idea of going paperless at work becomes a reality soon.
How Do You Set Up a Paperless Filing System?
Establishing a paperless filing system is a carefully structured process. The following information will provide some steps that you can follow in order to set up a paperless filing system:
The first thing you need to decide is where you want to store your files. There are multiple platforms that you can choose from. For instance, Drobox and Google Drive can be used for file storage.
You can set up cloud storage because it acts as an efficient backup, in case you lose data. The type of platform you use for file storage depends on the size of your files. Google Drive has the largest capacity for free space, which is up to 15 GB. It includes more storage for additional cost.
Next, set up a proper folder system. You can set up folders for documents and pictures in OneDrive. This helps you access these folders whenever you please.
Moving forward, it is important that you scan all of your documents. Apart from the inconvenience of having to retrieve paper files, scanning documents helps to declutter your office and use less paper.
The last step is maintenance. Make sure you download bills and statements on a weekly-to-monthly basis. You should check that your financial documents are in your inbox. One you have confirmed you have received these documents, scan and organize them in their respective digital folders, so you can navigate through them with convenience when sorting finances.
Is it Safe to Go Paperless?
The benefits of going paperless are obvious, but before making the leap, it is a good idea to evaluate the pitfalls.
If you plan on going paperless but have all of your financial bills on E-billing, you need to be vigilant enough to ensure that bills are being paid on time.
There are many common misconceptions that make people believe that putting their data online, puts them at risk. That’s not true, however. Digital software comes with added security features.
These include role-based access and multiple verification levels that ensure your information is not going into the wrong hands.
Going paperless can be rewarding in the long term. If you are someone who is passionate about saving the environment, are aware of the costs of using paper or are a business owner looking for cost cutting techniques to implement into your business, going paperless is a great solution.