There has been a steep fall in paper consumption in the workplace over the past decade. The average office worker in the United Kingdom consumes around 45 pieces of paper per day. This is five pieces lower per worker per day compared to what it was in 2008. In absolute terms though, the drop in overall consumption is still a blip in the radar and we have a long way to go when it comes to creating a paperless workplace.
One reason why businesses consume paper in such large quantities is because legal documents continue to be handled and shared physically. In this article, we will take a look at some ways businesses could look at eliminating paper consumption and in the process, move towards a truly paperless setup.
1. Digital Contracts
Businesses prefer signing contracts on paper. This is despite the fact that electronic signatures have been legal for nearly a couple of decades now. Popular electronic signature services like DocuSign help organizations replace activities like printing, faxing, scanning and couriering with a digital alternative. Shifting to electronic signatures can alone save thousands of dollars every year apart from speeding up the process workflow.
2. Virtual Mailrooms
Transitioning to digital from a legacy setup is painful and cannot happen overnight. In addition to this, driving the change towards a paperless workplace cannot happen unless all your vendors, suppliers and distributors are brought on board. This may not seem practical especially if you are a small business without much leverage over your third party vendors. One way to overcome this challenge is by signing up with a virtual mailroom. Put simply, virtual mailrooms help organizations deal with clutter by moving all inbound packages online. This way, business users do not have to deal with paper documents unless absolutely necessary. Any non-essential paper documents received by the organization may be scanned and viewed online. Mandating the use of mailrooms is an important step towards moving towards zero consumption of paper at work.
3. Online Fax
Contrary to popular belief, the humble fax has managed to survive in the twenty first century. Millions of documents are still faxed every single year in the United States alone. Businesses that rely extensively on fax can minimize their paper consumption through the use of online fax services. Such services make it possible for a user to get a scanned copy of a faxed document sent directly to their inbox. This way, you no longer have to rely on a fax machine to receive documents. Also, this process helps businesses securely keep a digital copy of the faxed document.
4. Online storage
Physical storage of mission critical documents costs money and space. Businesses can do away with this by investing in online storage services like DropBox that are not only secure, but also help with improved accessibility. To successfully transition from a legacy environment, it is recommended that you make use of an OCR service provider. These tools translate all the scanned copies of your physical documents that may then be edited digitally. This is a one-time process that enables quicker migration to a paperless workplace setup.