People are slowly starting to realize the far-reaching value that lies in engaging in environmentally friendly habits. The environment is highly impacted by the amount of waste produced, and it’s also impacted by the amount of deforestation taking place. Other factors such as soil erosion, heavy storms, air pollution through the release of toxic fumes, oil spills in oceans, and numerous others also contribute to a depleting environment.
In particular, the production of paper is a process that involves deforestation. Going paperless in the spaces you occupy can make a big difference to the world, especially in the office where paper is used daily. The use of large amounts of paper produces a lot of waste which leads to a higher volume of them taken to the landfill.
However, just because going paperless is environmentally friendly, it doesn’t mean life in the office is going to be a smooth road. The following are precautions to take when your office goes paperless.
1. Ensure Privacy And Safety
When a company uses paper, they’re likely to store all their important documents in a hidden safe that’s behind a locked door, protected by a security alarm. If they have storage units, they might have installed keys and locks. A business could even have security guards around their building to ensure confidential information on paper doesn’t get retrieved easily.
There are numerous trustworthy and hands-on security precautions you can take in a paperless office. However, when it comes to a paperless office space, ensuring privacy and safety needs to be more thorough. The benefits of going paperless include having a more digitized storage environment that’s easy to organize and handle. However, if you have weak cybersecurity and data protection, your documents could be one computer geek away from being hacked.
Whether you’re using high speed document scanners or laptops on the fastest Wi-Fi, it’s important you maintain information security practices, and set up strong cybersecurity software on all devices when you go paperless. The office is a space with lots of fragile information, therefore, make sure all documents and files are stored safely, securely, and in an organized manner.
2. Promote Accessibility
Accessibility and convenience make working in an office seem seamless, and allows for a better workflow. If your systems are more accessible and easier to navigate, you can do more things. In an office that uses lots of paper, you may have piles of documents to go through when looking for a client’s folder or an old brief.
With that said, when going paperless, employees should make sure they have authorized access to certain resources to do their jobs. A common communication channel, a common space where information is stored digitally, a common cybersecurity network, and a common backup software or application. Having the same software and systems throughout the office makes it easier to exchange information and share files.
It allows superiors to know the progress of various office employees. When you ensure accessibility, employees are more confident in handling the move to a more digitized office environment.
3. Express The Benefits
Some people may be ecstatic about not having to write the details of every client by hand, and not having to print every note out. However, there are also some people who aren’t conscious of any of the benefits of going paperless, and aren’t particularly fond of the change. In this case, it’s important you clearly express the benefits of going green. Outline all the details surrounding the reason for going toward such a decision, and carefully explain how the office will do better environmentally, socially, and financially.
When people are aware of the reasons, especially on a topic they haven’t previously engaged in, they’re more likely to follow through with the idea in a positive manner. The more positive employees are about going paperless, the more successful the change is going to be. Make sure to outline a stage-by-stage process of how you’re going to do it, and how the office is slowly going to move toward a paperless environment.
4. Continue To Learn
Some people think that if you read one article on the benefits of going paperless and one advice column on how to do it, they’re equipped with everything they need to make the change. However, for the most part, this is untrue. The journey to going paperless is best done when it’s done with patience. There’s no award given to the person who goes paperless the quickest.
It’s more worthwhile to know you’ve thoroughly reviewed factors over time, and more doors are opening surrounding the idea of digitization. It is becoming an accepted norm.
You’re continually learning about what a paperless office space will look like. You may not have the best storage and management software, but you can keep researching or ask a friend which software is working best for their office. You can attend advice seminars, or read more articles on information and methods surrounding the paperless route. There are new applications and discoveries every day. You will reap the benefits by continuously checking out business and environmental trends and methodologies.
5. Constantly Implement The No-Paper Policy
Once you’ve made a decision to go paperless, you’ll want to make sure you’ve made every effort to make everybody aware of the change. It’s worthwhile to start slowly. For example, buy lesser and lesser amount of paper for the next month or for the next three months at a time. Try to steadily implement paperless transactions in the office so people are gradually eased into adapting the new norm, and actively practice digitization.
It could be hard for some people to move toward a paperless environment, especially people who are against the use of technology or the digitization of the office space. Making sure you have less paper in the office, whether it be in the printer, in the store room, or anywhere else, can contribute greatly to the seamlessness of going through such a change. People are more likely to slowly start to see the happiness associated with going paperless when they’re fully exposed to a paperless environment.
After your office decided to go paperless, you can now evaluate the impact of your campaign, and start little tweaks and set precautions in your workflow, if needed. Such precautions are designed to assist you in comfortably navigating through a digitized space and making your standard processes seamless. The environment will be grateful for this change. But ideally, the collective comfortability and productivity of your entire team will give drive to your organization to making this change sustainable.