How to achieve a paperless office: Steps and benefits

How to achieve a paperless office: Steps and benefits

It’s no secret that businesses have traditionally run on paper-based processes. But now, the paperless office is more attainable than ever before.

Here, we’ll guide you through the process of going paperless and outline every way your business stands to benefit.

Digitising your office

Digital solutions are improving office efficiency. Indeed, when it comes to modern business, a paperless office is a more productive one. Many organisations are aspiring to cut back on paper consumption in favour of a paperless office. Thanks to the cloud, that dream is now reality.

Most businesses still rely on paper records, whether it be for bookkeeping or compliance. But you can still reap the benefits of paperless productivity. Here are the solutions you could implement:

  • A Document Management System (DMS) or platform
  • A digitisation process (i.e. a scanner)
  • A Visitor Management Solution (VMS)

With a combination of physical paper and digital workflows, modern offices can revolutionise the document ecosystem.

Step 1: Establishing a Document Management Solution

Before you digitise your office, you’ll need a structured way to access information in a secure location. That’s where a Document Management Solution comes into play.

A DMS is a secure solution that houses your organisation’s documents in the cloud. It’s a platform where users can send, receive and manage documents without using paper. Employees can access digital records quickly and easily when they need them, rather than relying only on a physical recordkeeping system.

Your office needs a cloud-based DMS that is secure, fast and reliable. According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach in Australia is $3.35 million, with that number rising every year. Any solid DMS will feature a number of security measures including:

  • User permission configuration
  • Document backups in case of emergency
  • System rights management
  • Encryption tools
Two office workers using a high-speed scanner to turn documents into usable data.
Scanning paper documents into a DMS is a critical first step in your paperless journey

Step 2: Digitising your documents

Now that your documents can be stored in your DMS, you’ll need to start scanning paper. To streamline the process, here’s a closer look at the document’s journey and what you need to consider at each stage:

  • Source: Before scanning, consider the source of the document. Is it from the mail? Was it printed in the office? Is there a signature attached? Knowing the origin will help you organise documents later on
  • Digitising: This requires a scanner that’s fast and reliable. Scanners with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology make scanned documents searchable – a major advantage when sorting, retrieving and entering data. Plus, they’ll accelerate workflows and benefit productivity
  • Filing: When sorting files, use a hot folder to automatically process scanned documents to their intended location
  • Security: Once documents are scanned, set passwords, permissions and controls to safeguard them from unauthorised access
  • Search: Now that records are safe in your DMS, they need to be accessible. Try searching for them by keyword to ensure vital documents are retrievable in a hurry

Step 3: Implement a cloud-based Visitor Management System

Does your office still rely on a pen-and-paper sign-in sheet? How effective is this system when you need access to information for compliance purposes? How much paper are you wasting on a daily basis?

If your office requires an intake procedure, consider transitioning to a Visitor Management System (VMS). A VMS uses the cloud to make those processes easier and more efficient by eliminating the need to physically field paperwork, enter information or scan by hand.

Digital registration kiosks allow visitors to input their information on a branded iPad, which automatically sends intake data to a secure cloud storage location.

In doing so, a proper VMS automates registration – no paper required. Visitor data can be retrieved quickly and easily for safety and compliance purposes.

A visitor management system in use at the front desk of an office.
Visitor Management Systems eliminate time-consuming sign-in or registration procedures

Benefits: Organisation

When it comes to information management, most offices are rightfully worried about organisation. If important records are lost, stolen or damaged, critical workflows could be thrown for a loop. Digital solutions offer plenty of ways to keep vital information stored in a neat and organised fashion.

Cloud-based solutions make recordkeeping simple and effective. You can configure where exactly in the cloud data is stored. In doing so, your company can ensure that no vital records are ever lost, misplaced or physically damaged. Plus, cloud solutions can be scaled to fit any sized business, so your system can grow alongside the company.

If an employee needs to access a document, they’ll know exactly where to look. Digital solutions can merge, split and share relevant files with ease, meaning workers will no longer need to jump back and forth between two separate documents.

Benefits: Efficiency

Although physical copies are still necessary – in some cases mandated by law – the retrieval process can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. In fact, 81% of office professionals have a difficult time finding important documents at work. Cloud-based solutions eliminate the time-consuming journey an employee might take while looking for a document and yields a number of benefits:

  • Searchability: Documents are easy to find if they’re searchable by keyword
  • One secure location: With one digital repository, everybody knows where to look
  • Collaboration: Documents can be quickly shared between colleagues so that everyone is on the same page

With all your files in one place, your company can easily comply with strict data retrieval regulations, and you’ll have more time to focus on more critical and collaborative business tasks.

Two office workers working on the same table with laptops and a scanner nearby.
Cloud-based storage solutions centralise your documents in one secure space for faster retrieval

Benefits: Security

Protecting your organisation’s sensitive information is a top priority.

Whether it be internal data or visitor information, it’s imperative that sensitive documents be stored in a digital format to safeguard them from physical damage and prevent them from being lost in stacks of paper.

In a dedicated digital solution, permissions can be set for specific users to decide which employees can access which files. Administrators, by extension, enjoy enhanced visibility into their network to see who’s accessing their information, what actions they’re taking and where that data is going. Security software can also be automatically updated to the latest settings without the need for more maintenance.

Benefits: Sustainability

At its core, a paperless office is all about a more sustainable ecosystem – in and outside the workplace. Although most traditional workflows rely heavily on paper use, going paperless isn’t an effort to eliminate hardcopies entirely. For the modern company, it’s just not realistic.

A paperless office combines digital workflows and physical backups. In tandem with a DMS or VMS, organisations are dramatically cutting down on paper waste. Not only does that represent a significant reduction in cost to companies, it’s a huge benefit to the environment.

Thanks to such solutions, businesses are stepping closer to an optimal balance between paper and digital. To learn more about how we can streamline your journey toward a paperless reality, reach out to our team today.


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