Questions EVERY Business Owner or Office Manager MUST ask themselves:
Are you swimming in a morass of paper contracts and forms?
Would you like a much faster and easier way to locate important documents in your ofﬁce that doesn’t require sifting, sorting and digging through piles and piles of folders?
Are you concerned about losing or misplacing important documents?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, it’s time to get rid of the paper!
Paper shuffling costs you more than you think
It’s the little things that slide by during our busy lives that when added together, make a large impact. Did you realize that just 15 minutes a day of paper shuffling is equal to a FULL WORK WEEK of non-productive time? Let me demonstrate:
15 minutes per day X 5 days X 4 weeks X 12 months = 3,600 minutes / 60 minutes = 60 hours
Now, take the above number of hours and multiply them by the average hourly rate of your employees and that’s how much money you’re throwing away. For example, if you pay your employees an average of $20 per hour, you are wasting $1,200 per employee per year. For a 5 person office, that’s $6,000! The math is simple but the effect on your business is profound.
Steps to a neat, organized, and clutter-free office:
- Convert all paper forms to electronic templates. This is very easy to do with today’s productivity software such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Templates should be organized by function and placed in clearly identifiable electronic folders on your server. Now, whenever you or one of your employees needs to fill out a form, they’ll know where to go to get it. Since it is electronic and centrally managed, you all will be using the latest version.
- Make an electronic folder for every client in a centrally located place on your server. Make a series of sub-folders within each client folder that clearly indicates the type of documents it contains (i.e. contracts, invoice payments, proposals, etc.). You should also control access to client files as appropriate.
- Archive current paper documents that are not frequently used with an archival service. There are many companies that provide physical archive services and have the facilities to keep them safe and secure. They’ll fetch documents for you and send you copies when you need them, etc. You need to do your homework as prices and services vary. If you have paper documents that you frequently use, you can either scan and file them electronically or if that’s not feasible, continue to store them on site. Either way, you should have greatly reduced the amount of paper in the office. The reason that we suggest you archive the documents you already have with an archival service is that, contrary to what most people believe, it is very expensive and time consuming to prep and scan them. Even a small company can pay upwards of $50,000 or more to do this.
- Going forward, scan paper documents and electronically file them into appropriate folders on your server and micro-shred the originals. There are a number of commercially available scanners that can be purchased and/or services you can use to digitize your documents. Now that the paper documents you already have are safe with an archival service, you can begin to scan and electronically file your documents going forward, keeping your office free of paper-clutter.
- Use SharePoint to manage and control your company’s day-to-day document flow. SharePoint offers employee collaboration abilities and document management with version control. If these things are important to you then this is definitely something to look into. Many small businesses can utilize SharePoint within their Microsoft Office 365 subscription. Larger firms or companies with more intricate needs may need to go with an onsite SharePoint installation or a very affordable Hosted SharePoint service.
All completed forms, contracts, etc. should be filed in the appropriate folder on your server and NEVER kept on individual workstations where they’re unavailable to other employees who may need them or vulnerable to malware infections, data loss, data corruption, etc.
Caution: before destroying any original documents, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney regarding acceptable formats for the types of documents you use in your business. Electronic format may not be acceptable for certain kinds of documents. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you.
The benefits you’ll gain
- Finding documents in seconds with a few short clicks of your mouse
- Never lose or misplace important documents
- Completely eliminate or reduce bulky ﬁle cabinets that take up ofﬁce space
- Comply with government regulations for storing and securing sensitive information
- Protect your documents from ﬁre, water, spilled coffee, tears, and destruction
- Streamline operational processes
- Eliminate the confusion of having multiple copies of the same document
- Easily share documents with remote employees, clients, and colleagues
- Save money on future storage costs
Although many people believe that the paperless office is a myth, there is no reason why your place of business cannot be productive, secure, and free of clutter. Reducing your reliance on paper will streamline operations and save you time. And as we demonstrated above — time is money!
XSolutions is a Managed Services Provider (MSP) and provides 24/7/365 remote monitoring, scheduled workstation and server maintenance, Help Desk Services, Cloud & Hosted Services, Backup/Disaster Recovery, and Software Development. Call us at (845) 362-9675 and see how we can help your company.