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This Is the Year of the Paperless Office

The world’s evolution toward more paperless offices has just taken an abrupt shift into high gear.

In the global coronavirus outbreak’s early innings, businesses and agencies began to implement some work-at-home measures as they could. However, as governments instituted various levels of stay-at-home mandates, the willing and unwilling alike were forced to make telecommuting work as best they could.

The result? A lot of disruption at first, naturally, and there are numerous office transitions that simply can’t be made without a thoughtful, detailed plan with plenty of time to execute. But as they get settled in, people are starting to experience many of the benefits of the paperless office we’ve been touting for years.

Don’t expect this movement to end the second the world returns to something resembling normalcy. It’s likely that once we can all return to the office … many of us will take a long, hard look at finishing the transition this outbreak has started. That’s in part because companies are realizing how digitized operations allow them to keep operating during emergencies.

But the benefits go well beyond that.

Digital Records Are More Powerful

Making changes to paper documents, running those changes by co-workers and continuing to iterate on the same document is time-consuming and inconvenient. However, tools such as Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) or Google Drive allow teams to collaborate on documents at their leisure, with as many or as few restrictions and permissions as you need to implement.

Numerous tools can also turn a single paper document into something more dynamic — for instance, you can scan a paper receipt and not only create a digital record, but have that data feed into an accounting tool for reporting purposes.

Not to mention, it’s easy to create numerous digital backups without needing to find gobs of physical space to store them.

You Can Save on Costs

We all tend to think of the most physically apparent costs when thinking about paperless-office cost reductions. Less paper. Less ink. Less service on a printer over time.

Those are all tangible and considerable savings, but it goes so much farther than that.

Think about the labor costs when personnel need to spend hours simply compiling paperwork for every day usage, or the time lost when someone has to spend their time digging for a lost physical file.

Also, fewer paper records means less office space needed for storage; less office space translates into rent savings.

And think about the costs to your business should a natural disaster damage or destroy your physical files. When data is digitized and backed up in several places, your chances of a material disruption are considerably reduced.

Your Customers Win, Too

How does a paperless office benefit anyone who’s was never going to step foot in that office anyway?

For one, think about the labor savings we mentioned above. Every hour you’re not paying someone to hunt down files is an hour you can pay someone to improve the customer experience, whether that’s through developing better products, dealing with service requests or simply spending more time analyzing and better fulfilling customer needs.

Not to mention, savings can also be mainlined to customers in the form of lower prices on what you provide.

Make the Transition to the Paperless Office

As we said earlier, small businesses are beginning to experience the perks of paperless offices. But most companies were forced to slap together a workflow plan and find a few digital tools in just a couple weeks’ time. The real, full transitions (and the accompanying benefits) are yet to come — once society is able to get back to normal.

If this outbreak has convinced you just how important it is to digitize your operations, you don’t have to go it alone. McManamon & Co. offers paper office consulting services to small and midsized businesses, which includes evaluations of existing workflow and procedures, a full set of paperless recommendations including physical equipment and digital tools, and a plan for not just implementing these steps — but a hand to hold along the way, as well as follow-ups to make sure everything is humming as it should.

Get ready to make the leap … just as soon as we’re all allowed back outside, that is. Give us a call at 440.892.9088 or contact us online today.

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