How many pieces of paper do you think you sort through on a daily basis? One? Ten? Twenty, even? There is nothing more overwhelming than a desk cluttered with stacks on stacks of seemingly “important” documents. We know transitioning to digital documents would be a solution, but that's a complete 180° from what we are accustomed to. Plus, sometimes going paperless can come with the same headaches faced in a paper-filled office. Okay...which folder did I save that file in?
How do you go about transitioning from paper to paperless without facing organizational pitfalls and missing information, especially on a company-wide scale?
This is not something that will happen overnight. Switching to a paperless system will involve a lot of kinks along the way. The first step is to realize that not everything will be 100% paperless. Many customers do not and may never feel comfortable with paperless receipts, contracts, or e-signatures. Eliminating paper completely could harm relationships with current and future customers who aren’t willing to make the switch. Luckily, paperless software solutions like Scout allow the user to print out physical copies while still keeping paperless files in check, providing the best of both worlds.
It’s important to be realistic about the amount of time it will take to switch a company or office even halfway from paper oriented to paperless. The process will take a fair amount of planning and patience, and staying on track along with having a developed plan is imperative.
The moment you decide to go paperless to when you file your first paperless form could be months depending on the size of your company. Make sure that the digital solution you choose offers support every step of the way.
Begin with the papers on your own desk. While these may have been important at one point, chances are many of them are filled with outdated information taking up room on your desk. Sorting will be tedious, but clearing out unnecessary documents and reducing clutter will help freshen up your workspace. Additionally, seeing which documents are still important regardless of time will give you a clear sense of which documents need to be digitized. The next step is to bring this process up to an office-level scale. Determine which documents need to be saved, which can be filed away, or which can be disregarded completely. Approach going paperless with a balance in mind. This will help to relieve anxiety and avoid the idea that every inch of paper has to be discarded.
Choose Designated Leaders
To make the process run smoother, choose tech-savvy members of the company to help usher along the digital changes as well as assist other staff and technicians with the transition. These team members will help maintain organization during the changes and keep your staff on track. Have these leaders attend any demos during the decision making process, and all on-boarding meetings. This will help the leaders become the “in-house-expert” on your technology solution, and empower them to take charge of the transition.
Take Your Time
Once you’ve figured out what needs to be digitized, take your time with implementing the information to the cloud. Determine which information is necessary and disregard any extraneous or incomplete information that you know you won’t need. Understand that the implementation process will take the bulk of time when switching to a primarily paperless office, and is also one of the most important steps in switching.
No, we don’t mean cutting out chocolate or cookies (because we’ll totally take some!) Instead, reducing the temptation to migrate back to paper can begin with eliminating an excess of printers or filing cabinets in the office. Reducing the number of paper-oriented accessories can quickly enforce the idea that it’s time to digitize. Without the ability to easily print out a surplus of documents, employees will be more likely to ease themselves into digital forms.
Stick With It
There will definitely be times where you’ll want to throw in the towel and go back to familiarity, but pulling through to the end will bring great results to your business. By going digital you will be able to make time for more additional jobs, nearly eliminate the cost for ink and paper, and improve your efficiency and customer service. So, what are you waiting for?
Scout is a digital form building application for people in the field service industry. Turn paperwork into beautiful, paperless forms, and change the way you do business.