Businesses around the world are hopping on the bandwagon of a trend that’s becoming more and more common; going paperless. Having a paperless office offers a wide variety of benefits, like saving space in your office, improving efficiency when looking for documents and keeping your important documents safe from damage or unauthorized access. As this trend grows, so do the number of companies offering solutions and aid to help your business transition to a paperless office. With the help of these companies, transitioning to a paperless office can be quick and easy and once the transition is complete, your company can sit back and reap the benefits of an office, sans paper. You may already have started a transition to being paperless without realizing it. Everyday, people pay bills online, receive electronic bank statements and choose to have their receipts emailed to them rather than printed. With just a few more changes to how day-to-day business is managed, anyone can easily go paperless.
Becoming a paperless company offers many benefits that can simplify the daily workings of a business. The first, and most obvious of these is saving space and removing clutter. We’ve all seen that desk; the one that is piled with stacks of paper, littered with Post-Its, and dangerously beginning to resemble a landfill. How does anyone stay organized in a mess like that? With a paperless office, clutter is a thing of the past. When all of your documents are saved on a computer or in a Cloud based system, you can pull them up on a screen, leaving your desk free for more important things; family pictures, plants, coffee and maybe just a few important Post-Its. But before all that paper ever made it to your desk in the first place, where was it? Most likely, it was stuffed into file cabinets that lined the room, packed boxes in the attic or garage, or piled into drawers. With a paperless office, that room of file cabinets becomes a single computer. When all of the paper is gone, so goes the need for bulky file cabinets that take up a whole room and the long period of time spent digging through them.
Another benefit of having all your documents stored on a computer is quicker and easier retrieval of your documents and information. Remember that attic full of boxes I mentioned earlier? Well, it’s a real place… and it’s scary. Shortly after starting a job as a receptionist I was shown the rooms of old client files. One was the garage. The walls were lined with ancient file cabinets that were nearly impossible to open because they were so old and so full. The other room was the attic and it was lined with shelves that were absolutely stuffed to bursting with banker boxes, labeled in faded marker, organized by date, file number, last name, or something else entirely, depending on the manager’s preferences at the time they were put there. Because of the chaos and disorganization up there, it made files nearly impossible to find. But once they initiated an online database of all those files, life got easier. When a file was needed, it could be searched by client name, file number, date or any other information that was already known. Documents could be scanned into the database so that when it was needed, it could be viewed on a screen. Rather than taking anywhere from several minutes to several hours to search the entire building for single document, it now took just seconds from any desk. Definitely an improvement.
The final benefit I want to discuss is safety and security. Having all of your documents and information stored in an online or computerized database keeps it all safer. Paper is highly susceptible to a variety of dangers, including water damage, mold, fire, pests and humans. Files that are stored in attics or garages or anywhere really are in danger of roof leaks or broken pipes soaking the paper. And we all know that rodents just love making nests out of your stored old files. What if the building caught fire? Everything could be lost in a matter of minutes with no back logs or extra copies to help reconstruct your files. Even on a smaller scale, paper is always in danger. A file on a desk is at risk of acquiring a bad case of a coffee stain if an employee has a clumsy moment. By keeping your files safe on a computer you save them from the daily dangers of paper. Rats can’t chew through files on a computer. Although coffee and water may ruin a computer, they can’t ruin an off site hard drive or items stored in the Cloud. Having data and documents stored on a computer also keeps them safe from theft, prying eyes or being misplaced. We all know that we shouldn’t leave important papers like bank statements or bills lying around. By encrypting them or keeping them in password protected files on your computer, you can restrict who has access to certain information. Also, with a computerized database, you can eliminated the need to transport important documents to and from your clients. Paper runs the risk of being misplaced, left behind and damaged while being moved from an office to a jobsite. If all of your documents are stored in a cloud, an employee can simply pull up any documents that are needed on a phone or laptop from anywhere. No need to worry about forgetting things at the office or bringing the wrong documents with you.
With all of those benefits of going paperless, I’m sure the question of “How?” comes to mind. Well, that part is easy; all it takes is a scanner, some free time and good organization skills. With all the paper used in a business the hardest part of going paperless is taking the time to scan all of that paper into your computer and then saving and organizing it in a way so that you can easily retrieve it later. I’ve been talking a lot about computerized databases, Cloud storage, and ways to store and organize your newly paperless office. Many companies now offer solutions to help businesses and individuals manage your documents and paperwork online. Google offers Google Docs as a way to create and share documents with several people via the internet. People can access, view and modify these documents from their home, office, coffee shop, airplane or anywhere with an internet connection via a laptop, computer or smartphone. Other file sharing sites and products, such and BitTorrent or Dropbox, are used to share large files, documents and information with individuals or groups. All of these and other similar products are useful in sharing documents within a company or with individuals but they all have the same drawback: they don’t organize your files in any particular way. But there is a system that does.
Kosmas is a construction management software but one of it’s most convenient features is its automatic organization of files and documents. Using Kosmas, you can upload documents and files, automatically import a list of contact information from a spreadsheet or Docuwrx can even help by importing any documents, contacts or files into Kosmas for a company, taking that stress off your hands. In the Kosmas “Documents and Images” module, you can upload and organize documents, files, images and any other important paperwork into Kosmas from home or the office. Simply drag and drop documents, images or whole files from a computer to the Documents & Images Module to save them into Kosmas. Once all of those documents and files are entered into Kosmas, they can be linked together with related files and connect them to specific clients so that when pulling up something on a certain client, all the related documents and files can be viewed at the same time, in the same place, from any device. Managing files and documents is now simple and paperless.
In addition to being eco-friendly, becoming a paperless office is a highly efficient way to run a company. So, throw away those bulky file cabinets and use that extra office space to it’s fullest potential. Having documents stored safely on a computer and backed up in the Cloud protects them from accidents, general wear and tear, loss, theft, or disasters. With tools like Kosmas to help the process, information can be quickly imported and organized to make searching and retrieving files faster than digging through cabinets and boxes, keeping your company more organized and your customers much happier. This is one bandwagon we should all be jumping on.