How to go Paperless in 2020? A Simple Guide for Small Businesses

A paperless office has many advantages from reducing costs for office supplies to showing you care for the environment. Small and medium businesses are the first to adopt this new way of work. That’s because they’re more open to innovation, have limited budgets, and follow a more sustainability-oriented company culture.

10 benefits of going for a paperless office in 2020

  1. You can search, archive, and update your files very quickly. All your documents are well-organized and at hand.
  2. Many of your clients require digital files, so you avoid the need for scanning documents.
  3. You avoid repetitive tasks by using batch processing.
  4. Your files are always safe.
  5. You save money by reducing the budget for office supplies.
  6. You have access to your documents from any location and mobile device.
  7. It’s environmentally-friendly and this adds to your company’s culture and wins new customers.
  8. You’ll reduce audit time.
  9. Analysis and statistics will become easy and efficient.
  10. Communication with employees will become easier. Not everyone owns a printer.

Tips for a paperless HR department

The HR Department is one of the most paper-consuming departments of a company. From employment contracts to resumes and applications for leave, the HR Department has much information stored on paper. Not to mention monthly reports, certificates, statistics, planning, attendance tracking, and leave booking. 

Switching to a paperless HR Department should be on your agenda. You can find plenty of smart tools ready to make the transition easy. Check out the following tips for a paperless HR Department:

Choose cloud-based HR software

Dedicated HR software allows you to keep everything updated without spending too much time on repetitive tasks. It also eliminates human errors and makes you more efficient. But if you choose cloud-based software, you’ll be able to access your data at any time from any device. Moreover, data will be safe and you’ll be able to use much less paper.

Use online systems for annual leave booking and attendance tracking

Instead of spending precious time filling forms and lists, choose an online system that does everything for you. You’ll have real-time data for each employee and reports ready to be generated anytime to need them. Attendance tracking doesn’t have to use paper at all and neither should the annual leave booking system. An online app provides a fast and secure data transfer, allows you to be responsive, and gives you less paper to recycle.

Store forms and contracts in digital files

A huge amount of paper is used for contracts and different types of forms. People print documents, then sign them, and then scan them in the digital format again. Use electronic signature when possible and store forms and contracts in digital files from the beginning. Make sure you backup your data periodically.

Some documents don’t need a signature at all. Resumes and cover letters, planning documents, meeting appointments, statistics, and reports are better in digital format than on papers.

Use employee self-services for annual leave management

Employee self-services are a great way to move forward to a paperless HR Department. They are mostly used for annual leave management because it’s a win-win situation. On one hand, the HR Department is released from dealing with paper applications, paid time off, and manual leave tracking. On the other hand, the employees see their leave situation at any time and plan their tasks accordingly. Employee self-services are transparent, efficient, and paperless.

Switching to a paperless HR Department may take some time but the result is very rewarding. You can be an example for other departments, increase employee satisfaction and productivity, create a green company culture, and avoid dust allergies. But where should you start? And how much time would it take to reinvent your department and give up the paper?

“To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too.” — Marie Kondo

You won’t need too much time and effort to go paperless. The first step, and the most important thing, you have to do is decide you want to do this change. Buy the right software and learn how to use it. Then, involve everybody and make them feel they are part of the change. Enthusiastic people have the best ideas. Make sure you train as many people as you can and everybody is on board with the software.

The third step is the hardest: organize your documents and transform them in digital format. Here’s where step two will be helpful: if everybody does their part, the whole organization and scanning process will take less time and effort. The last step is to upload the digital documents in your new software and inform your clients that you’re going to work paperless from now on.

How can the employees help to switch to a paperless HR Department?

You’re not alone in this process. Everybody can help, including the employees. For example, you can easily transform the hiring process into a paperless one. Require digital resumes and cover letters, give online HR tests, and use cloud-storage for storing hiring documents and contracts.

Employees can also help. Replace paper applications for leave or certificates with online forms. Implement as many self-services as possible, including attendance tracking, leave booking, evaluation and planning systems, and online training. You’ll see that a huge part of your paper pile is dedicated to communication with employees. And this shouldn’t be the case in a paperless office.

In conclusion

Going paperless is the best decision you can take right now. You have all the tools you need, amazing software, and an entire community to help you. Involve your employees and clients and build a more sustainable new wave of businesses. And keep your eye on your paperless goals:

  • Reduce the carbon footprint of office printing
  • Keep your documents safe and in order
  • Start using online collaboration tools
  • Maintain transparent communication with employees

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