Creating A Paperless Office: 6 Solutions To Get You Started

/ real-life wins
Tegan Tedd

A paperless office. Sounds like an unattainable goal doesn’t it? When you start to think about it, it’s hard to imagine doing certain things without paper; invoicing, forms, faxing and note-taking to name a few. But thanks to the evolution of tech, your journey to becoming a paperless office doesn’t have to be a hard one.

Whether you’re trying to go green and reduce wastage, de-clutter or are attempting to win over the staunch paper loyalists in your office, there’s a solution out there for your business.

Here, we uncover 6 tips to get you well on your way to running a paperless office in no time.

1. Find The Right Note-Taking App

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Make note-taking more efficient and environmentally friendly by using a note-taking app that can sync your daily scribbles across various devices, meaning wherever you have a device, you’ll have access to your notes.

Apps like Evernote allow you to save entire webpages and automatically save notes online and make them available across all your devices. This means losing track of important information will be a thing of the past. Features like finding notes by titles, dates and keywords- including words in handwriting and pictures- also make searching through information that much easier.

If you want a note taking app that integrates with Microsoft Office, OneNote allows you to embed Microsoft Office files into your notes. The ability to share notes with co-workers under the same account makes sharing ideas and collaborating so much easier than it would be with paper notebooks.

If you’re searching for the perfect replacement for your notepad, here’s a list of the best note-taking apps on the market.

2. Ditch Paper Forms

We’re in the digital era, so why not digitise your forms? Utilising online forms can give your business access to easy-to-use and shareable online forms with the ability to analyse results quickly .

Online forms generally improve the response rates and quality of submitted forms. They also save both you and your respondents time and help eliminate errors. Imagine never having to decipher hand-written forms again!

An online form builder will allow you to embed forms on your website to easily collect information  or share your forms directly via a custom URL. Form builders also have in-built analytics features that allow you to track views, skipped questions and completion rates, which can ultimately help you improve the quality of your forms.

Try Paperform free for 14 days or check out our comprehensive list of the best form builders on the market to choose the right one for your needs.

Choose from hundreds of ready-made form templates to create digital forms in minutes.

3. Replace Cabinet Files With Digital Storage

Implementing this one will require a team effort.Transitioning to storing files digitally can be daunting for some workplaces, especially if you have piles of paperwork to sort through. However, implementing a clear-cut and methodical system can alleviate some of these pains, such as building a unified organisation system (eg. by date, category etc.) and setting a clear goal for when all files should be ready to be entered into the new storage software.

There are a range of digital storage tools available to cater for every need. Opt for the one that’s features are most suitable to your needs - whether that’s an unlimited number of documents and users, amount of storage, employee permissions, system health check or support for data archival.

IBM Cloud offers a range of storage solutions with an easy-to-use, fully integrated user interface and high-speed data transfer. IBM storage improves the way your data is managed, protected and stored and you can choose different storage options to meet your needs.

Google Drive is another popular option that will be particularly easy to transfer your data to if your team is already using Google’s suite for other functions - like Gmail. It can be used to securely store documents, spreadsheets, photos, videos, slides and everything in between.

 

4. Switch To Online Invoicing

Apart from minimising paper usage, there are many benefits of sending invoices electronically. For starters, it saves time in the creation, issuing and payment of invoices with easier processing and fewer errors. E-invoicing is available in several formats and if both people use the same standard, invoices can be sent directly to a customer’s software.

B2BE allows you to automate and streamline your company's e-invoicing, meaning faster and more accurate invoices for shorter accounts receivable cycles. Designed to improve processing efficiencies, B2BE has a range of solutions to provide greater control, compliance and auditability for your organisation.

Alternatively, you may be able to generate invoices through your existing online services to automate the process. For example, Paperfrom can generate custom PDF invoices automatically after any purchases through its forms. You can safely and easily accept payments and recurring subscriptions in multiple currencies facilitated through integrating with Stripe, Paypal Business, Square and Braintree.

5. Set Up Your Fax Machine To Your Email

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If you are still committed to good ole’ faxing, why not try an online fax service? Using cloud based fax services allows you to send and receive faxes anywhere from mobile devices, sign documents electronically and search through your faxes. Instead of leaving documents in the fax tray, rest easy knowing that your communication and data is encrypted and safe.

There are several great options when it comes to finding the right fax service.

MetroFax has an easy-to-navigate portal and is accessible through a mobile app on both Android and IOS. Microsoft Office files and Adobe PDF are among more than 50 file formats Metrofax supports. They also offer a free 30 day trial, after which the service reverts to $9.95 per month.

eFax also offers a 30 day free trial but is a little more pricey with monthly rates starting at $16.95. The service supports up to five email addresses for use with a fax account and allows you to tag and search faxes.

If you are after a service that offers strong encryption for your documents, Sfax is a great option. Designed for the medical industry, admins have control to manage users and security settings, permissions and setting access. This service starts at $29 a month however only supports faxing in the U.S and Canada.

6. Provide Training And Support To Staff

Make sure to set aside some time to train your staff and familiarise them with new systems and softwares. Creating comprehensive written guidelines and procedures that are easy to follow is key to making your paperless transition smooth and disaster-free.

To make everyone accountable moving towards becoming a paperless office, set goals for each department, or if you’re a small business, set personal milestones to keep track of your progress. It's also a good idea to allow your employees to request trainings whenever they feel they need to boost their skills.

Wrapping Up

The process of moving these processes can be a painstaking one at best. But once you manage to do it, you’ll not only be operating a more sustainable and future-ready office, you’ll also be implementing more secure and reliable processes for your business. Remember, the right mentality and organisational culture will go a long way. By following these six steps, you can start minimising your document overload and achieve a paperless office.

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