Boost Productivity With These 4 Tips for a Paperless Workplace
Long gone are the days of paper correspondence, handbooks, manuals and checks. Whatever the paper-based system is, chances are it has a more economical, paperless cousin. Just ask Emma.
BusinessWeek first called for the paperless workplace back in 1975, and it's easy to understand why it never fully came about. In fact, the opposite happened. New technologies, such as email and the Internet, encouraged workers to print more, not less. That influx of printing is what truly sparked the idea of a paperless workforce.
With today's technological advances and ever-changing workplace, a paperless office is well within reach. Embracing a paperless workplace is about more than "going green" or cutting down on printing costs. Less paper means more productivity. Here are four ways to go paperless to boost a company's overall productivity:
1. Ditch the fax machine already.
For most of us, the fax machine lived in the 1980s. However, every now and then the elusive fax number makes an untimely appearance in someone's email signature. The first step to jumping on the paperless bandwagon is to get rid of outdated paper-based solutions -- the fax machine being the first to go.
As for the abundance of documents taking up office space, scan them and turn them into digital files that can be stored electronically. An office with less paper to keep track of is an office that breeds organized, productive employees.
By making anything that enables paper usage -- fax machines to filing cabinets to paper clips -- less readily available, employees will turn to paperless alternatives. The sticky note may never die (long live the to-do list), but limiting other paper product usage is a start.
2. Move business to the cloud.
The cloud has redefined the way we do business. So much so, that nearly 40 percent of U.S. small businesses have fully adapted to cloud computing -- a number that's expected to double by 2020, according to a 2014 Intuit study.
Moving business to the cloud not only gets rid of paper-based systems, it boosts both individual and overall productivity levels within an organization, by giving employees the ability to access work-related information from any device, anywhere, at any time. As the workplace becomes more flexible and begins to cater to a remote workforce, being able to access work materials from outside of the office isn't just nice, it's necessary.
Cloud computing creates a more connected workforce. For starters, it eliminates the time-consuming process of sending files back and forth and up and down the corporate ladder, which creates a streamlined communication and approval process. For instance, with Google Drive, colleagues can collaborate without ever leaving their desks. Collaboration at its simplest.
3. Automate time-consuming processes.
Automating time-consuming processes is a great way to get rid of paper and increase productivity for managers and employees alike. Take the new hire onboarding process, for example. By moving to a paperless onboarding system, new hires can spend less time sifting through paperwork, handbooks and instruction manuals, and managers can easily assign, track and store new hire paperwork and tasks.
Another equally paper-heavy process that can be automated is benefits administration and enrollment. This headache-inducing process is made easy by eliminating stacks of paperwork and benefits information in exchange for a clean, easy-to-use way to sign up for, learn about and manage benefits.
4. Take advantage of time-saving apps.
These days, there's an app for everything. When it comes to enforcing a paperless workplace, mobile applications can help employers and their employees save paper, and time. From apps such as SignNow that enable people to sign electronic documents while on the go, to employee time tracking apps such as Toggl that eliminate paper timesheets, to organized to-do lists such as WorkFlowy, there's an app designed for the job.
By utilizing the latest apps for business, both employers and employees can spend less time searching for, organizing and filling out paperwork and more time on other, more crucial aspects of business.
What do you think about going paperless? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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