If volumes of old files have taken over your office space, you may be looking into the idea of updating your paper document filing system. Regulatory compliance often forces companies to keep stacks and boxes and cabinets full of records for security purposes, and this storage is creating cramped workspaces all across the nation. You might even be making extra copies of key documents, just in case something happens, and you've probably witnessed just how tedious it is to put so much work into preserving information printed on one of the world's most fragile substances.
What Can You Do?
One solution that is growing in popularity is digital conversion or creating an electronic database to store your files. At ScansAmerica, we have been helping companies transition into a more paperless workflow for more than 18 years, so we have seen firsthand how the following nine benefits relieve stress and enhance the productivity of businesses who decide to take the paperless plunge.
Some of the benefits of a paperless office listed below will be evident to you right from the moment you digitize your files, while you'll enjoy others more and more as time goes on.
Benefit 1: Freed-Up Office Space
While we realize you may still have some documents here or there that need to stay in physical paper form, most of the items in our filing cabinets can serve us just as well in digital form. How often do we file documents, only to never access them except when we shred them a few years later? Don't let records like these consume your valuable office space.
One of the top reasons to go paperless in the office is to minimize the office space your documents hoard. Transition to storing company files in a cloud-based system or on a private company server to give yourself the gift of extra space. Doing so will add value to the time you spend at the office.
Imagine what business-growing activities you can accomplish once you free yourself from those bulky filing cabinets, boxes and even the industrial-sized printer you had to invest in. You might be able to convert the old archive room into a shared space for colleagues to socialize, or maybe you can bring in extra furniture to add comfort and style to your office aesthetic. What you do with this new space is up to you, and there are countless possibilities, most of which are far more exciting than paper storage.
Benefit 2: Financial Savings for Everyone
All that paper doesn't just consume space, but your funds, as well. Copier paper costs alone can take up a hefty chunk of any budget, not to mention the expenses for printer toner and copy machine maintenance or the snowballing investment your company regularly makes in staples, paperclips, file folders, lamination, labels and other paper-organizing office supplies.
Now, imagine you didn't have to pay for any of these items anymore. Imagine no longer contributing to the $8 billion companies spend on paper management every year. Imagine being able to redirect these funds to grow your client base, revamp your sales strategies or hire those key employees you've been coveting. You'll be able to see paper costs dwindle, and you'll see your digital conversion pay for itself within a few months.
Benefit 3: Instant Access to Documents
We have all witnessed the perks of continually having the Internet at our fingertips. Storing your office files electronically makes your workflow much more time-efficient because of the quick access you have to your documents. Tags and other metadata make your documents searchable using keywords. Here at ScansAmerica, we create a full index of these electronic tags for you as part of our 12-step digital conversion process, so you'll be able to find any document you are looking for with ease.
Not only will you no longer have to get up and sort through filing cabinet folders to find your necessary paperwork, but you also won't have to make copies of it or scan or fax the document yourself to share information with co-workers or clients. Instead, you'll be able to access and attach files to emails, pull them up on your screen in presentations and share viewing and editing capabilities with key employees.
Benefit 4: Ease of Working Remotely
With a digital system, your employees will no longer have to carry around folders full of paperwork to give their presentations and meet with clients. In fact, they'll be able to take the much more convenient and modern approach of operating through PDF files and emails.
If it suits your business style, this can free up your key workers to operate remotely, as they would no longer be required to be physically present at the office to fill out forms and input data. Those with the right authorization will be able to access your cloud drive from anywhere at any time, thanks to the growing use of laptops and portable tablets. You may even see your sales team checking off those prospects using nothing more than their smartphones.
Employees thrive on that kind of trust, and you may see it leading to new creative pursuits and growth in all sorts of areas of your business.
Benefit 5: Paper Trail to Limit Audit Risk
With paper files, you never know who might leave confidential files lying around or stored incorrectly, leaving sensitive information in the wrong hands. For security purposes, a digital storage system can protect and track all activity on the files, so you will always be able to see if anyone has accessed the paperwork or made any changes.
One of the most significant security benefits of going paperless for your business is that you and your staff will be able to pull up key documents at a moment's notice. You can have greater peace of mind by knowing everything is in its proper place.
Benefit 6: Files Protected Against Age and Disaster
Similarly, fires, storms and break-ins can limit the amount of security you can ensure with paper documents. All it takes is an accident or an unforeseen disaster, and all your files may be in jeopardy. Among the advantages of a paperless office is a digital lockbox where all your files reside. Even if your computer hardware were to suffer damage, your cloud storage would be free from harm.
When disaster strikes, you don't want your files to be your main concern. Instead, you'll be able to focus on helping your employees recover and getting your business up and running, which will be much easier to do with all of your documents securely locked away.
Benefit 7: Improved Collaborative Capabilities
With officemates and customers alike, working together on projects is much more efficient with access to digital copies of important documents. In a paperless business, you'll no longer have to run to the copier to be able to share files, nor will you run into the problem of only one person being able to access the file at a time. Employees would even be able to work on projects together from remote locations, such as the coffee shop next door, while having access to any files they may need. These kinds of freedoms will make them pleased with your digital conversion.
Your clientele will also see a greater appeal in your services, thanks to the paperless nature of your business. Imagine no longer spending company dollars on postage to send forms and contracts to your clients. The instant communication capabilities through email and cloud sharing will thrill your clients and make them realize the advantages of doing business with you. They will see the benefit of having a digital copy themselves, and while they may print it out and file it in their physical systems, they will be grateful for the time savings your quick response allows.
Benefit 8: Reduce Future Environmental Impact
More and more companies see the environmental, tree-saving effects of going digital wherever possible. To some, the importance of a paperless office is not only about the business and workflow advantages, but also about being considerate of the world at large and eliminating as much consumption and waste as possible.
Businesses in the U.S. alone use more than 12 trillion sheets of paper a year, and paper accounts for one-fourth of all landfill waste. These numbers are concerning, and creating a digital storage system for your paperwork can help your business become an environmentally conscious trendsetter.
This benefit can also be a perk for your branding. Consumers see the benefits of paperless offices, and they are increasingly interested in sustainability, looking to purchase products and services from brands they believe are doing their part.
Benefit 9: Happier Employees and Improved Office Morale
With regular paper storage methods, not only does there never seem to be enough space or money, but managing documents costs your workforce valuable productivity minutes. Paper records sometimes even increase office tension when documents get lost, misfiled or damaged accidentally. While these soft costs may not be initially visible when looking at the overall success of your business, the atmosphere of the office reaps their draining effect.
Fortunately, built-in document access and security measures minimize these issues. Through these benefits, not only does your business have the chance to skyrocket, but your employees will be happier and feel more productive, boosting overall office morale. Customers are more satisfied with their service, leading to proud employees. Ease and increased productivity have an empowering effect, and for many, the idea of working for a company that values the environment and takes steps to reduce their carbon footprint is reason alone to be proud of their work.
Keep in Mind: Potential Disadvantages to Consider
In the spirit of transparency, let's address a few notable disadvantages of a paperless office.
- Necessary paper records: You may not be able to go fully paperless since some documents need to remain in paper form for legal or professional reasons. Don't compromise your business' adherence to rules and regulations in an attempt to digitize your paperwork.
- Updating software: If you've been using the same programs for years on end, you may find you need to update your operating system and other computer software to create digital storage capabilities. You will also have to consider your Internet speed and bandwidth if you want to go cloud-based. These updates can be a hassle for some companies, and you may find making changes in these areas is not your top priority for the time being.
- Training employees: If you have a handful of key employees who are very set in their ways and who may be overwhelmed with any change to their daily filing habits, you may consider addressing a digital conversion only if the need for it becomes dire. Employees will need to learn to navigate your digital system and become confident in their capability to use the software. If this seems like a hurdle that will be difficult to overcome, consider addressing your desire to convert systems and be patient with the time it may take to open other minds to it before making the change.
Going entirely paperless may not be the best option for every business, but even just digitizing a portion of your records can help you reap the advantages of a paperless office without compromising the procedures you already have in place. You can always readdress your desire for change later if the concerns of paper storage continue to weigh on you.
Going Paperless in the Workplace: What It Looks Like
Having all your work files scanned and organized into a digital filing system takes a certain amount of time and adjustment. Fortunately, getting some professional assistance can help streamline the process and make it much more comfortable for you. It's only natural for the thought of scanning all your documents on your own to be overwhelming, so that's why ScansAmerica steps in to do it for you.
Say hello to improved workflows and collaboration, while putting your trust in our streamlined process that will give you a competitive edge.
A Digital Conversion You Can Trust
One of the best ways to go paperless is to find a document scanning company that knows your goals and will help you reap the benefits listed above. You want to remain productive and keep your information secure, which are some of the leading focuses of our efficient 12-step strategy.
Ensuring the right procedure and the best quality of work in your digital conversion process is crucial to your success, and we understand how dependable you need your scanning service to be.
At ScansAmerica, we work with small businesses, municipalities and organizations across all types of industries to make their electronic storage dreams a reality. With our more than 18 years of experience and top-notch security measures, you can count on our content management strategies to be reliable and formulated to fit your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our process and professionalism that has made us the top choice in the industry.