Whether it’s a multi-million dollar organization or a home office, many businesses want to go paperless but they don’t know how. Paper products have been an integral part of their lives for so long, they can’t imagine workflow management such as marketing, sales, monitoring profits and losses, and daily dealings without it. On the other hand, going paperless has its benefits. Businesses can reduce costs on paper, ink, filing cabinets and file storage facilities. Tips to go paperless come in various forms.
Going paperless is not going to happen overnight. Scanning existing documents and storing them as electronic files via a software process is going to be a long and tedious process. But once everything is scanned and electronically filed, scanning and storing future incoming documents will only take a minimum of time. One of the benefits for future use is, should a document need to be sent by email, the electronic file is at the user’s fingertips.
Electronic files can either be stored on a computer hard drive, USB sticks, or management tools such as “Evernote”, “Dropbox” or “File This”. These services offer sorting and searching features with access from any computer anywhere in the world.
In the absence of a scanner, a digital camera or even a phone can be of service. Small items such as checks and receipts don’t need to be scanned. A picture can be snapped which can then be sent to an email account and saved in the appropriate computer file. Once the file is saved, the check or receipt can be shredded.
Instead of using paper forms that need to be filled out – you can use an online form builder to handle this task. The form can created, completed, and stored digitally.
Should there be a fire or flood, digital files are safe as they can be stored offsite.
Workflow management starts by monitoring where paper is coming from. To set a good example, stop sending letters to business associates and clients and opt for a software process such as email. When businesses and clients receive communication by email, they will respond by email, thus eliminating incoming mail.
Another way of going paperless is to unsubscribe from newspapers and magazines. Nearly all publications can be found online, read via an electronic reader and saved online.
Sign up for electronic bills such as utilities, credit cards, phone bills, banking statements, insurance policies and others. It’s just as easy to view these documents online as it is to get them in the mail. In turn, a software process can be set up to send reminders when bills need to be paid or automatic payment can be arranged with the bank.
Should contracts require a signature and/or initials on certain pages, instead of printing the document, sign it and then scan it to be sent to the originator, use a software process to record and store a digital signature. All it takes is signing a piece of paper, scanning it, cropping it if necessary and saving it. The next time a document needs to be signed, simply open the appropriate software, copy the signature that needs to appear on the document and paste it.
Whenever an electronic document is received, it’s only natural to want to print them for future reference. Resist printing and rather save a copy on your computer. Whether it’s a letter, an email or a webpage, anything and everything can be digitally saved.
Going green at home these days is a given, with Energy Star appliances and recycling becoming a part of everyday life. Considering the fact that many people spend several hours each day at the office, taking steps to make workplaces more environmentally friendly is a natural extension of a beneficial energy-saving lifestyle. Here are a few cost-effective strategies for going green in the office.
Lighting & Lighting Habits
The electric costs of lighting an office or work space can be up to 50% of total monthly usage.
- Install timers or motion sensors on lighting in common areas such as walkways, restrooms, and break rooms.
- Institute a Turn It Off habit in the workplace, reminding employees to utilize natural light when available, and turn off electric lights when they will be out of the room for more than 15 minutes.
- Replace existing bulbs with Energy Star rated light bulbs. This simple switch can make a big difference, as they use more than 50% less energy than traditional bulbs.
Reduce unnecessary paper use by utilizing other Workflow Processes to everyday needs.
- Think before you print. Chances are good that your document or file can just as easily be read, shared, and stored online.
- Utilize direct deposit and nix the paper checks.
- Distribute employee manuals, updates, and other important documents online.
- Reuse old paper for documents you absolutely must print, or use discarded print material as note paper.
- Take advantage of online form creators and workflow management software for everything from employee training and customer feedback to purchasing and reporting. As a bonus, ditching paper for online forms makes for smoother workflow and faster response times.
Office supplies and other work-related materials can just as easily be purchased green as not. Buying products with recycled content saves both energy and natural resources, and generally require fewer chemicals and materials to produce. Recycled and remanufactured goods usually cost less, too, which is great news for the budget.
- Buy paper with at least a 35% post consume paper content. Recycled paper is now as bright as non-recycled and works just as well for printing and copying.
- Purchase remanufactured toner and ink cartridges. These usually cost less than newly manufactured cartridges, and help keep plastic and metal out of landfills.
- Buy only Energy Star appliances such as printers and computers, which use up to 75% less energy than traditional models.
- Make it a policy to buy from, and work with, companies that can boast a greener footprint. Identify the greenest options in both products and suppliers, thereby helping the environment twofold and securing the confidence of your customers and clients.
Remember, going green in the workplace is as easy as taking the first step. As each step becomes a habit for every employee, the whole office contributes to the health of both the environment and the company.
Today’s customer success story comes to us from the cutting edge energy solutions firm Trilliant. Trilliant provides network solutions and software for monitoring and controlling electric, gas, and water utility use, in real time, through the Trilliant ‘Smart Grid Network’. Through its monitoring services, Trilliant is able to provide utility companies with state-of-the-art metering and communications infrastructures that can reduce energy consumption and costs for consumers.
Trilliant’s CIO Tom Hines initially considered PerfectForms because of its affordability and simplicity, particularly in comparison to other SaaS solutions. Tom’s positive experience while implementing the service led to Trilliant’s entire Non-Disclosure Agreement process being automated using a PerfectForms application. Since that time, PerfectForms has become an essential tool in streamlining Trilliant’s day-to-day operations.
In addition to providing form creation and automation capabilities, PerfectForms is used by Trilliant as a powerful process mapping tool, which allows administrators to understand and streamline workflow processes. By identifying daily work connection points, Trilliant is able to document all pending items and procedures, better address inefficiencies and manage time and resource investments. This internal management process has been greatly improved thanks to the versatile nature of PerfectForms, saving Trilliant significant time and money.
Just another example of how PerfectForms and our business partners are working hard towards making this world a better, more efficient place.
For the full customer case study, click here