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The Alternative Board Blog

Tips on Going Paperless in 2021

Mar. 11, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Paperless Work Environment

Businesses seeking to economize, as the world slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, should take a close look at going completely paperless in the workplace.

Is this really a worthwhile goal? As we have said before, “If your business still spends money on paper products, it’s well past time to shift to digital technology.” By doing so, you can save considerable amounts of money and enhance the security of your sensitive information at the same time.

Other key paperless benefits include: (a) more office space, after removing printers and file cabinets; and (b) lessened environmental impact.

Chances are, you’re already working towards this objective. Here are some tips to refine and accelerate this valuable, cost-cutting measures.

Build support among employees to make the “big switch.”

It’s one thing to mandate a workplace transition away from paper, but without employee support as a foundation, the move may take longer and be more difficult to sustain.

The first step is framing the topic in ways that employees can both understand and support. Establish written policies and guidelines that clearly spell out the goal and how to achieve it. Invite employees to offer paperless suggestions and get their feedback on decisions made at a higher level. After all, employees will be most dramatically affected by this proposed change.

Start at the front desk.

Setting the tone for both employees and customers is a big first step. As the workplace platform Envoy notes, “You no longer need to print and file paper documents, keep a sign-in sheet at the front desk, handwrite visitor badges, or leave notes for employees when their guests arrive.” Automated visitor systems and digital visitor logbooks improve the sign-in process and save money at the same time.

Get rid of printers (or significantly reduce their use).

This may sound like a drastic step, but when printers “are still easy to access by your team, they will continue to be used,” notes Business.com. By replacing these with “centralized network printers relegated to dedicated areas within the office, you can limit their use.” You can also consider monitoring the purchase of ink and toner only for company-approved printers and copiers.

Overhaul the project management process.

The use of paper related to project management—to-do lists, outlines, task assignments, etc.—has a way of proliferating, sometimes beyond control. To enhance the switch away from paper, look into a wide array of tasks and project management apps that get the job done more efficiently. Apps like Google Tasks and Asana can do the job, but many others are worth exploring, too.

Enlist the support of key third-party providers.

You want to go paperless, but your business doesn’t exist in a void. Reach out to third parties with whom you work and encourage them to follow the same route.

“Request paperless bank statements, speak to vendors about digital invoice options, and inform customers about purchase order emails,” suggests Business News Daily. In many cases, your vendors and other suppliers may already have embarked on the same paperless campaign.

Investigate apps that help drive the switch to paperless.

The visitor management system Proxyclick recommends these apps to consider for the paperless switch:

Want additional insight? Download Easy Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

  • To take notes during meetings and conferences: Microsoft OneNote, Apple Notes and Evernote
  • To reduce the use of printed memos, reports and other documents: Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Skype for Business
  • To eliminate printed agreements and other legal documents: Adobe Sign, DocuSign
  • To scan and store business cards on your phone: CamCard, ABBYY

Many similar apps and systems are available online.

Are you ready to go paperless? These and related measures can significantly reduce your company’s dependence on paper products. In addition to saving money, it’s “ecologically responsible” to move in this direction, a fact you can happily share with your eco-minded customers.


Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by The Alternative Board

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