6 Ways to Create a Paperless Workplace

Rock, paper, scissors, or digital? 

Right now, the popular option is paper. We know what you’re thinking; paper has been posing to fold for many years now, but it never really does. We still print proposals, contracts, application forms, magazines, brochures, flyers, and photographs. Statistically, we have gotten used to utilizing paper in excess, so how could we possibly create a paperless workplace?

Well, the answer is that we may never truly transition into a 100% paperless world, but there are many ways to reduce paper usage in the office (approximately six ways, to be exact). Aside from streamlining your company budget, you would be saving a tree in the process.

From emails over letters and digital document solutions, here are six tips on how you can turn your office into a paperless workplace! 

Paperless Workplace Vs. Paper-Lite Workplace 

Creating a paperless workplace means that the storage or communication of information is in electronic form instead of being on paper. Though the term paperless would suggest not having any paper at all, going 100% paperless is simply not feasible for many businesses. 

This is where the term paper-lite comes in. The paper-lite approach integrates both paper and digital to support the business’s process—and in so doing, paper consumption is reduced wherever possible. 

Some businesses say they have gone paperless when actually, they mean paper-lite. As we’ve stated earlier, going paperless at work entirely is rarely attainable. This is because paper still has its advantages, such as:

  • For really sensitive documents like receipts and expenses, a physical copy of those transactions provides additional backup. 
  • Employees still prefer to work with paper in certain situations, like submitting business proposals. 
  • A wifi connection and/or power outage might cripple a completely paperless office across all processes.

So just how paperless or paper-lite should you be? That is entirely up to the needs of your business.

 A drawing on a blue brick wall depicting a stack of paper being funnelled into a laptop

Why Is It Worth Considering Going Paperless?

If you integrate paper and digital, it allows you to reduce paper consumption where you can, and reap these benefits: 

  • Digitized documents are easier to locate and access, so no more man-hours are spent finding lost paper documents.
  • The increased speed and efficiency of your processes will motivate your employees. You get needed backup—because when a paper document is lost or destroyed, that’s it. 
  • Your business gets to save because of the reduced need for paper and ink. As a bonus, it’s good for the environment!

How to Create a Paperless Workplace 

1. Review Your Paper-Based Processes

Who knows your business better than you do? No one, and that’s why you are the perfect person for transforming your office into a paperless workplace. 

A careful review of paper-based processes will help you spot opportunities for becoming a paperless employee or employer. Look into your processes for purchase requisitions, employee onboarding, customer/client data entry, document approval, document sharing, and document storage.

2. Emails Over Letters

If it isn’t a love letter, it is completely acceptable (and even encouraged) to transition from paper to electronic. Business proposals, minutes of meetings, and even contracts can be sent and signed electronically. Technology has opened multiple doors for us to utilize digital communication over ink and paper. 

Another plus point that comes with email over letters is the speed of delivery and the convenience of digital storage. Once you hit “send,” you deliver important information in real-time. Moreover, you won’t have to go through the hassle of photocopying your letter and filing it in a bulky file cabinet. Your email “sent box” would suffice. 

This is one of the simplest yet most effective methods in your journey towards building a paperless workplace.

3. Sign Documents Digitally

This tip for going paperless at work ties in with our previous point. 

Though paper is preferred for business proposals and the like, you may want to consider making your signature digital as well. Utilizing digital signatures on digital documents within your workplace is still considered official and binding.

4. Regularly Purge Existing Paper Documents

Within the guidelines of your retention schedules and disposal policies, you’d want to schedule regular purging of old existing paper documents. 

If your business has been highly dependent on paper for a while, there’s bound to be lots of storage bins and filing cabinets to go through. But slowly, you can chip away at old collections. You can also update your policy on which among the to-be-disposed documents need to be digitized for backup.

It may sound like a time-consuming task, but it’s highly rewarding and will put you on the right track towards achieving a paperless workplace. 

5. Consider Electronic Forms

Having electronic forms for data entry is far more efficient than using paper forms. For one thing, nobody will need to struggle with understanding illegible handwriting and data validation can ensure the information being captured is in a valid format. E-forms can also prompt if a field is missing and prevent the incomplete form from being submitted. No doubt about it, the quality of data you get is improved with electronic forms. 

Furthermore, e-forms can also be more easily modified. So, whenever you need to make changes, you won’t need to discard the whole batch of forms that are already printed. And of course, on top of it all, you get the paperless benefits. 

6.  Get a System For Digital Storage, Tracking, and Managing

So, you’ve decided to digitize your paper documents! That’s another spectacular step towards your paperless workplace goals. 

But is it really just a matter of scanning and saving? Is it enough to transfer all the digitized documents onto a hard drive, or upload them onto an application that is not specialized for business document management?

The short answer is no.

Here’s where you’ll need a Digital Document Management System (or DMS). This is an efficient, customizable, and secure system that allows you to store, track, and manage your documents without any fuss. It’s basically a corporate dream come true.

A DMS also comes with other handy components that will take your business’s productivity to the next level—such as automatic metadata assignment, document data validation, and much more.

A light blue digital icon displaying options for a digital document management system

Building a Paperless Workplace: Where Do I Begin? 

Now that you have your paper-lite office plan mapped out, it’s time to take the first step to make this dream a reality. 

At Integr8, you can cover your bases with the help of our comprehensive Digital Document Solutions. We can collaborate with you to set up a DMS system tailored to your company’s specific needs. Store, track, and manage your digitized files without the hassle. 

Gone are the days when we got lost in stacks of paper and suffered one paper cut after the other before we finally found that one document we so desperately needed two hours ago.
With our digital office solutions, your important data is sorted professionally, stored securely, and is only one click away—no matter where you are in the world. 

Want to take it a step further? Let’s fully automate your repetitive document processes with our Performance-Enhancing Document Solutions

Integr8 invites you to turn your business into a paperless workplace in order to conquer the digital world one file at a time. If you have any questions about reducing paper waste and how it can benefit your business, we would love to connect. Contact us today and let the paperless processes begin! 

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