Today’s small businesses have plenty to worry about. No matter what industry your office operates in, paper is a huge concern for your office and the environment. Did you know that the average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year? But, before you take one giant leap forward for all the trees of the planet, it’s important to have all your ducks in a row by taking care of these important considerations first.
1) Organization of Files – If you’re using paper files today, it’s an adjustment to make the move to a paperless collection of documents. You need to establish a file structure before you begin so that everyone is on the same page when the time comes and you go live with your paperless office.
2) Disaster Preparedness – You’ll need to have a backup plan for your documents and computer files that cover a wide range of contingencies. Not only are computers vulnerable to winds, flames, and floods, but they are also extremely exposed to quite a few other dangers. From fried servers and hard drives to cyber-attacks and hacking, you need to have backup plans for all your files and a policy about how to proceed when things do go wrong. Of course, cyber liability insurance is a must.
3) Adequate Storage Space – You’ll be amazed by how quickly you can fill up large hard drives with documents, software, and other necessary information. Finding an adequate amount of storage space, whether through an internal server or externally through the cloud, for the original files as well as backups is not something that can be put off. It needs to be a priority before you begin.
4) Compliance – Some industries, particularly legal, medical, and tax-related businesses, have very specific requirements regarding their documents. These are also some of the most documentation intensive fields in existence. It is imperative that you not only make sure you’re meeting the requirements for compliance but also to meet the needs of the people your business serves.
5) Security – As touched on before, going paperless presents a wide range of new problems that weren’t nearly as common when dealing with paper documents. Security is a big problem facing any company that goes paperless today. Keep that in mind and initiate a strong security procedure to safeguard against these risks.
6) Investment vs. Savings – At the end of the day, many companies are going paperless because it’s less expensive. You’re not only saving the money it takes to buy 10,000 sheets of paper for every employee, but also the ink to print them, the physical filing space to store them, and the personnel to manage all these papers. Those expenses add up fast, which is why going paperless represents so much in savings to the average paper-intensive small business.
Going paperless doesn’t have to be a painful process, especially if you take the advice above to heart and avoid some of the potential growing pains other companies experience when going paperless.