For many people, the end of the year is a time to reflect on the past twelve months. What went well? What do you wish you could improve on? What would you do the same in the next year, and what would you do differently? Obviously, 2020 was not what anyone would call a ‘typical’ year, so it might be a bit difficult to gauge your activities.
But if there is one thing that this year taught us, it’s that remote work and cloud-based solutions are viable options to keep day-to-day operations running. This may not be a realistic move for every part of every business, but for jobs that are heavy on administrative and back-office tasks, remote and cloud-based work can be a great way to continue operating while helping to keep your employees and their communities safe. Many businesses are even planning on shifting to remote-first or remote-only environments on a permanent basis.
One of the biggest challenges for a business to go remote (either fully or partially) is managing paper-heavy workflows. These may result in processes that are difficult or impossible to do in a remote environment, whether it is something that needs to be signed and/or filed away, a form which needs be filled in, or any other task that requires a physical copy of a document. Now, more than ever, you might find that converting to a “paperless” office is the way to go.
The benefits of going paperless aren’t limited to allowing for a smoother remote-work culture. Storing documents electronically means they won’t get lost in a pile of papers on someone’s desk, or end up in the wrong hands because it wasn’t properly filed away. Physical documents can be easily lost or damaged as well. And inevitably at one point or another, you’ll need access to a critical document that just happens to be locked away in the filing cabinet of someone who is out of the office. Of course, the success of this will be dependent on your team being properly trained, as well as a properly designed and secure electronic filing system, but paper documents can be arguably easier to forge or alter than their digital counterparts.
It’s no secret that digital solutions are the way forward for businesses, and converting to a digital process might not be as difficult and time-consuming as you might think. First of all, the conversion doesn’t have to happen all at once. You can choose a department or specific process to focus on first. This could be the adoption of using e-signatures for authorizations or contracts and using electronic versions of certain forms so transactions can be handled online instead of face-to-face. Or it might be an online solution for new hire onboarding and gathering employee data, or a digital timekeeping solution that takes away the stress of physical timecards and manual spreadsheets.