business man reading documents

8 Steps to Shred Your Paper Habit


Eight steps to help you go paperless.

Time: 10 minute read

Do you still rely on paper documents?

If you answer, “Yes, to some degree,” well, you’re not alone. More than 58% of U.S. businesses still rely on paper documents for critical business processes.[1]

With nearly half of employees working remotely 50% or more of the time, this can represent a challenge for efficient workflows and productivity. Paper documents stored in a file cabinet create delays:

  • Sales efforts can be impacted as slow answers reflect poorly on an organization.

  • Customer service delays frustrate customers.

  • Employee downtime balloons as they wait on the information needed to continue their work.

1.    Know Your Paper Flow.

To understand your use of paper across the organization, within departments, and even at the employee level, ask these questions:

  • Does a lot of paper come into our office (ie., invoices, statements, etc.), or do we produce and send out a lot of paper?

  • How does paper move around the office? Is it used for communication between departments?

  • What documents do we file and store? 

  • Where do we store paper files?

  • How often do we retrieve documents from paper files?

  • What is the information and data on the documents that makes these documents important?

The answers to these questions will help you paint a picture of your overall document use and flow. As you ask these questions, you can always dig a little deeper into each answer by asking, “Why?” 

2.    Seek Input.

As you evaluate paper use, ask your employees for their thoughts. Many employees, especially those who live the paper-based processes every day, may have thoughts on how to reduce paper use. Many are also eager to go green and may be willing to lead the effort to create new processes that reduce or eliminate your reliance on paper.

Just like you know how best to help your customers, a solutions partner has the expertise to understand your paper use, the technologies available, and how they can be customized to your environment.

4.    Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

Once you have identified where your opportunities exist to reduce or eliminate paper workflows, you need to set goals for the opportunities you will pursue. Following the SMART (Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Time-bound) goal setting practice creates accountability and will help your team stay focused and moving forward.

5.    Encourage Paperless.

You can encourage paperless practices in a variety of ways:

  • Use email and instant messenger to communicate

  • Share and collaborate on PowerPoints, PDFs, and other document types via shared folders or content management systems

  • Implement easy-to-use on-ramps to convert paper documents into digital forms 

And of course, you and your project leaders need to lead by example and evangelize the benefits of the change. For ideas on going paperless, read “Going Paperless in 90 Days: A Step-by-Step Guide.”

If you still rely on paper and think now may be a good time to audit your paper workflows and start the move toward paperless, contact us. Our team of experts will be glad to help you customize a solution to your unique business needs.

[1] Source: Information Mobility Study, IDC InfoBrief, July 2015

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