Have you ever thought about how much paper you use at the office? With the Bureau of International Recycling revealing that 50% of recovered paper comes from businesses, it’s safe to say that our industry has a paper problem. Apart from this harrowing statistic, using paper in offices can be extremely costly, and it can also consume a great amount of time to print out, organize, and dispose.

That being said, it’s imperative for your team to transition to becoming a paperless office. While this may seem like uncharted territory for businesses, it poses plenty of benefits — from reduced expenses and less clutter to a more efficient workflow and an overall greener workplace. One major consideration you can make during this transition is faxing, a cornerstone of inter-office communication that has allowed businesses all over the globe to send important documents and sign contracts even without the internet. And it has found its place in today’s digital world with the birth of cloud-based faxing. Not only does this innovative technology help send faxes at high-speed, but it also reduces the amount of money and time spent in sending and receiving new paperwork.

But for many small businesses, their busy operations can mean initiatives like the transition towards a paperless office go by the wayside. This is why it’s important to not only designate a leader who can manage the transition but to also prepare for the entire process so it can be smooth and time-saving. In this regard, Verizon Connect’s Taylor Fasulas outlines five different steps small businesses can take towards becoming more efficient including planning, prioritizing, organizing, tracking, and breaking. Though these may seem small, even 5-10 minutes saved from any of the individual steps can be hugely beneficial for your transition towards a paperless system in particular and business in general. Here are five main steps you need to take for the transition:

 

1. Plan

Paper-saving technology like cloud-based faxing is a great investment when executed properly. This is why it’s important for any business to devise a plan with scheduled targets and a clear overall objective in mind, as this will help secure a steady transition.

What makes a paperless office efficient is that only the essential pieces of equipment are needed, such as a computer, a DSL modem, and also your printer — in case a physical copy of the document absolutely must be issued. For businesses with larger archives, you’ll also need a digital scanner, a storage device, and a cloud-based backup provider.

Once these are all outlined, you can conduct a training program where your staff can learn about the fundamentals of online faxing and how to correctly use the supporting tools so they understand why your business is beginning its transition.

 

2. Prioritize
As soon as the groundwork for the transition has been laid out, office managers and business leaders should be specific about which goals should be at the top of the list. By organizing them by importance, goals will be much easier to achieve. This, in turn, will make the transition much more streamlined and easier for the office to adapt to. Considering that not many people are accustomed to using a cloud-based fax machine, office managers can prioritize this task first to allow the staff to work out all the kinks in the initial stages of the transition. This can be done through training sessions or creating a guidebook filled with useful information, such as paperless filing procedures and archiving processes.

 

3. Track

The next step is to create a daily, weekly, and monthly plan with clear goals to see if your team has developed a better understanding of the technology as you go. Tracking the learning progress of employees in using cloud-based fax machines and other paperless technology will help you know if any problems arise and how best to handle them. With the goals set in place, office managers can recognize which ones their employees are meeting and those where they are falling behind.

It’s important to keep in mind that it might be difficult for staff members to step away from their old ways, especially with Business World’s Reynaldo Lugtu reporting that Microsoft Research discovered that employees are afraid of the latest digital initiatives. To help them ease into paperless technology, you can take out your printers one by one instead of all at the same time. By doing so, they’ll be more encouraged to learn the new system.

 

4. Organize

As an office welcomes digital paperless technology into their space, they must bid farewell to crammed file cabinets. While this is a real time-saver, office managers must certify that all their files are properly stored. To efficiently coordinate their files with a cloud-based faxing system, you should choose a program that has an archiving system with data encryption to keep old files safe and organized. And after the digital systems have been established, there won’t be much to worry about when it comes to your files. A cloud-based system can store a vast amount of both received and sent documents, which can be quickly accessed from different devices.

 

5. Break

As we’ve previously written on “How to Boost and Improve Productivity with Internet Fax Services”, employers and employees alike can simply enjoy the benefits of this technology, as it makes operations easier for everyone. Not only will cloud-based technology allow documents to be delivered more efficiently, but it will also save you expenses that can easily add up in the long run.

From the cost of paper to the hours spent waiting, these things can be minimized or even eliminated with paperless technologies like cloud-based faxing systems. Despite traditional fax machines becoming obsolete, their purpose is still vital in offices. However, thanks to the power of online faxing services, you can easily fax people from all over the world — anytime, anywhere — with FAX.PLUS.

All you need is an internet connection, a valid email address, and an active online faxing subscription, to avoid the need for bulky hardware and troublesome processes. Not only does this usher in digital technology into the workplace, but it also eliminates any previous challenges you had.