When the World Wide Web exploded into the public’s consciousness in the mid 1990s, one of the great promises of the future was the paperless office. Business as we knew it would be transformed, they said, saving business owners money and making life easier for everyone. As is always the case with such hopeful predictions, reality did not quite reflect the sunny picture painted by futurists.
But happily for those who not only want a greener office, but who have to deal with stringent HIPAA requirements and other issues revolving around corporate information security, reality is finally catching up to what we were promised two decades ago. The paperless office is now a reality – and it can revolutionize the way even small companies do business.
How to move towards being a paperless office is easy: document scanning services are now commonplace, software to streamline inventory and billing is more affordable than ever, and for industries that have to track a lot of data, thanks to third-party support medical record scanning and similar efforts are no longer the insurmountable mountains they once were.
First, it’s important to understand that the idea of a “paperless office” is something of a misnomer. Going 100 percent paperless just isn’t in the cards for many businesses. Government documents, employee forms, and contracts are likely to be printed regardless of your shift towards a business environment that eschews paper (though in many cases even signatures on documents can be gathered digitally).
So yes, you’re still going to deal with dead trees now and then.
But you don’t have to be enslaved to reams and reams of paper the way we used to be. These days, shifting towards doing more of your business digitally is one of the most frequently-cited money-saving office tips. Get your data scanned and digital and you’re going to save a ton of money.
It’s about more than just money, though. By cutting back on the amount of time it takes for your staff to retrieve records and data, you make them more efficient. You allow them to work quicker and more efficiently than they ever had before. A big result of that is that your clients and customers are happier and more satisfied with the services you provide.
And that, of course, is priceless.
The great roadblock for small businesses, however, is actually getting all that document scanning done. Few small and mid-sized businesses can spare the staff to launch into a massive document scanning project. It takes time. It takes labor. It takes money.
The good news is that there are companies out there that exist to do this sort of work. They take your ridiculous stacks of paperwork and convert it into a database you and your employees can use to make you and your business more efficient than it has ever been.
Taken as a whole, this all means something many are only just now beginning to realize: The paperless office is no longer a science fiction pipe dream about the future. It’s here. It’s now. And it’s going to save you a lot of money.