More and more businesses are making a move to a paperless work system. Not only is this considered more efficient but secure as well.
However, a lot of businesses do not know where to begin when it comes to adopting a paperless work system. If this sounds familiar, read on to discover some different ways you can adopt a paperless work system at your company.
You may be wondering; what is OCR? OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition (OCR). It is a technology that aids users in extracting text from scanned documents or images, transforming that text into a format that can be read by the computer.
This is helpful when data is required for further processing, for example, in identity verification, loyalty marketing campaigns, expense management, and bookkeeping.
OCR operates just like the human capacity to read a piece of text and understand the characters and patterns. Typically, humans would read the text, and the necessary information would be extracted by manually inputting the data into a database, data file, or system.
Optical Character Recognition does this yet in a slightly different manner. The technology improves the quality of a scanned image or text, following a number of steps to extract the data you have captured. The difference is that more time is needed for manual work, making it more prone to human mistakes.
The OCR process can be split up into four different steps:
- Image pre-processing
- Character recognition
- Post-processing of the output
2.Consider paperless marketing solutions
Think of different ways you can digitally communicate with customers and prospects, rather than using conventional paper methods all the time.
While direct mail campaigns can be successful, there are plenty of other ways to connect with your audience without using a substantial amount of paper.
Digital marketing methods include social media marketing, search engine optimization, ebooks, email marketing campaigns, blog posts, and more.
Not only do these approaches involve the Internet, meaning you are not relying on paper, but they are highly effective as well. After all, we live in a digital world today, and most people will turn to the Internet when looking for a specific type of business, service, or product.
3.Move your finances to a digital platform
There is no denying that one of the trickiest parts of moving online is transferring your financial department because of the extensive amount of sensitive, historical data. Printed checks, agreements, and paper invoices can represent a considerable amount of waste.
If that was not bad enough, they could also be a considerable security threat should valuable data be printed out and then lost or left around the office.
The positive news is that the shift to remote working may be enforced in many financial departments to embrace improved, cloud-based systems for analytics, tracking, and invoicing. If you have not already moved online in full, there are a lot of effective and highly regarded online systems that can be used. Examples include Xero, FreshBooks, and Square.
We recommend searching for a solution that is an all-in-one platform, so your finance and HR system can be the same. This helps in terms of saving paper that may otherwise need to be printed and shared between different teams and departments within the company.
4.Make the most of e-signature software
In addition to the points we have mentioned so far, it also makes sense to look for quality e-signature software. Technology that enables legally valid electronic signature documents is widely known.
DocuSign and other companies like this provide digital signatures for things such as legal documents and contracts. Not only will this enhance security by ensuring that everything is kept in one place and stored online securely. Yet, it will remove the need to sign, print, and physically store paper documents within your work environment.
It always makes sense to look for a solution that will integrate seamlessly with the tools that you already use within your business and your existing processes. This will save you time and ensure that the new software improves your processes rather than drawing them out.
5.Time to get rid of the pen and paper logbook once and for all
It is surprising to learn that many businesses still use this approach today. There is no denying that paper log books appear to be an ancient and dated approach when tracking visitors.
Whenever someone visits your business, do they simply write their company and name on a sign-in sheet? If so, it is time to scrap this approach. Not only does it involve the use of paper, but there are security and efficiency concerns that need to be considered as well.
Plus, you likely have someone who types up the visitor record later, in any case, so you are only giving them more work today.
Instead, making the most of digital sign-in software makes much more sense, giving you a more efficient, secure, and quicker way of logging individuals in and out of your business.
6.Integrate digital apps into your business
There are so many different types of applications today. No matter what sort of task or processes you wish to fulfill in the workplace, we are sure there is an app for that.
Making the most of digital solutions and apps in your office will help you in terms of going paperless. Whether it is a note-taking tool like Evernote, a communication tool like Teams or Slack, or a project management solution, such as Asana, there is no excuse to still depend on printed or paper documents today.
Meeting agendas and other items of this nature can be generated and updated with the use of digital apps, helping you to create a paperless office that works effectively for everyone.
We would always recommend that you advise your team members to use the same app for their daily work so that there is consistency and everyone can work efficiently together. Asana and Trello are known to be two of the best options out there.
7.Encourage employees to recycle and reuse
Aside from the tips we have discussed so far, we would advise you to promote recycling and the reuse of paper within your workplace, helping to create a much greener environment.
You can place recycling bins in different spots around your office, enabling you to collect any paper waste. You can then recycle this paper in the future for your in-office printer or any other reason needed.
If you provide replacements for all of the typical office staples, like paper towels, this will help you to take positive steps forward when it comes to creating a paperless office. It may seem like a small step to put hand dryers in your bathrooms rather than paper towels. However, it is a lot of small steps that come together to make a difference.
It is also a good idea to provide reusable plates, glasses, and cutlery, which employees can use in the office, rather than plastic or paper.
8.Generate a paperless policy for your office
Last but not least, create a paperless policy for your office. Make it official, communicating clearly with everyone regarding what you expect from them.
Your paperless office policy can put forward specific limitations for your employees, for example, the office supplies, packaging, and paper they are permitted to use per month. Alternatively, you may want to outline the expectations that you have for people in terms of contributing to your office’s sustainability needs.
Irrespective of what you decide to include in your office policy, communication with your team is imperative when it comes to business success and making sure that your office is truly paperless.
We advise selecting an environmental or paperless champion to generate momentum and increase results. This person will be able to document progress in this area, adding their intense passion and enthusiasm to the paperless cause.
Final words on adopting a paperless work system at your business
As you can see, several different approaches can be used to have a truly paperless system at your business.
We know that the process can seem very overwhelming. Still, if you use the strategies that we have mentioned above, you can make sure that you have an organized, digital system in place for all of your business documents and papers.
Kerry Leigh Harrison has over 11+ years of experience as a content writer. She graduated from university with a First Class Hons Degree in Multimedia Journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys attending sports and music events.