Companies Going Paperless in 2021
We asked paperless companies from many different industries to share their best paperless office tips.
We asked paperless companies from many different industries to share their best paperless office tips.
Paperless Company #1: Spendesk
Patrick Whatman, Global Content Lead, Spendesk
On top of the actual digitization itself, you need to think carefully about storage and how your teams will access digital records when they need them. For example, companies can now use e-receipt storage instead of collecting paper receipts for expenses. Which is a huge timesaver. But if all those receipts end up in poorly named folders on a server somewhere, you’re not much better off than you were with a physical filing cabinet. So make sure you have a clear storage structure, easily accessible to those who need access regularly. And make file names logical and straightforward, so every team member can follow conventions easily.
Using e-receipt storage is a huge timesaver.
Paperless Company #2: Someone Sent You a Greeting
Sally Gibson, Founder & Owner, Someone Sent You a Greeting
The best way to go paperless is to set easily achievable goals. If you aim to go cold turkey, as it were, and attempt to cut all or most of the paper you use too quickly, you will almost certainly fail. It needs to be a gradual process. So set a monthly target of how much paper you want the office/where you work to use and then each time you hit that target decrease the amount. It gives employees the chance to get used to it and the whole company time to adjust. You can even get more specific and break down each individual area of paper usage i.e. printer paper, mail, office supply etc. and assign them their own targets.
The best way to go paperless is to set easily achievable goals—not to go cold turkey.
Paperless Company #3: WeBuyHousesHere.com
Shad Elia, Founder & CEO, WeBuyHousesHere.com
One piece of advice for other companies wishing to go paperless is to use note-taking apps in meetings. Taking notes has never been more easy or helpful. Doing it digitally means avoiding the unwanted piles of notebooks that accumulate on your desk, in filing cabinets, and in trash cans. Consider how much time you’ve wasted looking through your paper notes. We can take digital notes and share them across platforms using apps like Microsoft OneNote, GoodNotes, and Evernote. We can do this from a number of devices, add users to edit them, and show them in a beautiful way if necessary.
Taking notes digitally means avoiding unwanted piles of notebooks.
Paperless Company #4: We Are Working
Rachel Honoway, Vice President, We Are Working
Our team is 100% remote. We all work in separate locations, so paperless is a must for us. We have implemented three key policies to keep our files organized and accessible.
1 - Naming conventions: Each team has a specific guide for naming files. For example, our sales department names all documents starting with the date in YearMonthDay format, followed by the prospect’s name. All files are named and placed into folders created by each team manager.
2 - Designated owner: After they create a file, team members grant ownership to their team manager. Most file sharing applications like Google Drive, Microsoft Sharepoint, and Dropbox allow you to hand over ownership of the file to someone else on your team with a simple click of a button.
3 - Auditing: Each week, we all check our ‘My Files’ folders to see if we forgot to move anything over to our managers. Designated auditors spot check for naming conventions, file locations, and file ownership. In about 5 minutes each week, we ensure the long-term efficiency of our digital files.
When the team is 100% remote, paperless is a must.
Paperless Company #5: HomeTree
Daniel Foley, SEO Team Manager, HomeTree
My number one piece of advice for other companies wishing to go paperless is to implement a culture and execute training that promotes scanning everything. Making sure you don’t lose any of the details or records that are vital to the running of your company is an important part of making the transition to a paperless office a success. Instead, get those records scanned and filed away for future reference. Two main components are necessary to get employees in the habit of scanning any documents they obtain from outside or internal sources: training and company culture.
When it comes to training, make sure that every training step the employees take emphasizes the importance of going paperless. In terms of culture, you’ll need to make sure that upper management leads by example by scanning all documents, and that upper management makes a point of acknowledging those who scan documents on a regular basis. It’s a brilliant idea to recognize and reward the person who scans the most in a given month.
It's important to acknowledge those who scan documents on a regular basis.
Paperless Company #6: Coffee-Works
Julien Raby, Founder & Owner, Coffee-Works
My number one piece of advice for other companies wishing to go paperless is to embrace electronic signatures. Documents that need signatures create paper. Unless, of course, electronic signatures are available. This is why, if you want to go paperless, you need to accept electronic signatures. This can be done in a number of ways. Employees may have their signatures scanned as photos to attach or put into any documents that need it. You can sign PDF documents with your finger on a touchpad with programs like Adobe Reader, and you can do the same with apps like SignNow and SignEasy on your smartphone or tablet.
Unless your fans demand autographs, embrace electronic signatures.
Paperless Company #7: Trainer Academy
Benjamin Rose, Co-Founder, Trainer Academy
My number one piece of advice for companies wishing to go paperless: reward good behavior, limit unwanted behavior. If you want your employees to go paperless, you should encourage those that do so and restrict acts that do not align with your paperless strategy. Employees may be recognized in front of their colleagues, given awards for going paperless, or given special workplace benefits.
To prevent inappropriate actions, implement measures such as removing fax machines from the workplace, requiring a passcode to print, programming printers to only print a certain number of pages per day, and issuing printing passes to each department once a month, with each department being unable to print additional documents or having to exchange for them from other departments. These are just a few suggestions; be inventive in coming up with ways to restrict and obstruct unwanted conduct.
Restrict acts that do not align with your paperless strategy, e.g., by requiring a passcode to print.
Paperless Company #8: Force by Mojio
Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio
Companies that want to go paperless should be prepared to invest in the best. Don’t pick up and try out a lot of cheap or free services and equipment that aren’t going to meet your long-term needs. For everything from payroll to content management, you need the best possible software. Do your research. Trying out a lot of different solutions will only confuse your employees and make transferring files a nightmare. Something will definitely get lost in the shuffle. The fewer platforms and applications you can get by with using, the better.
For the best possible software, do your research and avoid confusing employees.
Paperless Company #9: Revelation Machinery
Tanner Arnold, President & CEO, Revelation Machinery
Buy a document management solution that has file sharing. We suggest reviewing a range of options to decide which solution is best for your business. There are two approaches that can be used. One option is to use document sharing platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Drive, CertainSafe, and Hightail to create your own organizing system. The other choice is to use a document management system like M-files, eFileCabinet, Paperport Pro, or PinPoint, to name a few.
Buy a document management solution that has file sharing.
Paperless Company #10: Crypto Head
James Page, Crypto Technical Writer, Crypto Head
My best advice to those opting to do the shift is: educate the whole group about your sudden change in medium and the revamping process. Everyone in your group must be aware of the objectives of going paperless, so that they will have a backbone for this change you are going to implement. If possible, ask an expert on efficient ways to conduct and process such information, so that it can be imparted to your team. Knowing about a change and how to adapt to the effects of such will certainly increase the chances of producing a successful transition.
Ask an expert to help make your team aware of the objectives of going paperless.
Paperless Company #11: Fleet Lending Solutions
Kendall Horn, Online Marketing Director, Fleet Lending Solutions
The most important thing to keep in mind when going paperless is always ensuring your company’s workflow remains intact. Going paperless can disrupt or hinder workflows when employees are used to physically handing off their tasks or responsibilities. If this isn’t handled properly, it can have a negative impact on the customer experience. Using a cloud storage service such as Box and creating folders for specific employees can ensure this isn’t an issue. When one employee finishes a task or assignment, they can pass it on by placing it in someone else’s folder. Companies can also use task managers such as Trello if they prefer a more centralized approach to organizing their workflow.
To avoid negatively impacting the CX, ensure your company’s workflow remains intact.
Paperless Company #12: FiveBarks
Tammi Avallone, Managing Editor, FiveBarks
Before going paperless with your business, you must have a plan in place. So you don’t have to go through a full transition right away. Simply choose one or two forms to go paperless, bring them into effect, and then extend. Here are some useful paperless-office ideas if you need some guidance getting underway.
Make an investment in energy-saving workplace facilities. As workers turn to accessing papers on mobile screens, one of the potential drawbacks to being a paperless organization is an increase in electricity demand. However, just because the company is going paperless doesn’t mean you have to pay more for electricity. Increased electricity consumption can be supplemented by installing LED lamps, energy-efficient printers, and other energy-saving devices.
Scanners and phone applications may be used to copy papers. Scanning documents into PDF format and uploading the copies to the cloud is one alternative. You may use the scanner on your printer or have a scanning software on your computer or other devices. After downloading records, shred them as a protection measure. If you desperately require hard copies of a text, keep them in a safe deposit box as part of the disaster recovery strategy for your small company.
For your business, you should lease costly machinery. In order for a small company to go paperless, it could be necessary to invest in modern smartphones, tablets, and handheld digital payment systems, which may be expensive. Leasing the more costly facilities is one useful paperless-office tip. You’ll save money on upfront expenses, renovations, updates, and facility rental payments this way. Leasing also encourages you to try out various pieces of equipment before you decide on the one that works well for your paperless business.
Invest in energy-efficient LED lamps, printers, and other devices.
Paperless Company #13: Exam Strategist
Thomas Rhodes, Data Scientist & Co-Founder Exam Strategist
Maintaining a paperless office is not only great for the environment but can also induce better organizational habits and enhance productivity. Choosing a cloud-based productivity suite with your organization’s personal needs in mind is the first step toward achieving a greener and more collaborative company.
With new offerings from Google Workspace and Office 365, there is no longer such a steep learning curve toward getting your team engaged and effectively working together in a paper-free fashion in the cloud. These tools are great not only for their notable record management systems but also as a way for employees to simultaneously collaborate on the same files while working remotely.
Choosing a cloud-based productivity suite is the first step toward achieving a greener company.
Paperless Company #14: Cosier
Daniel Adams, CEO, Cosier
Here is my No. 1 tip for businesses going paperless (it may seem too obvious and simple, but it changed the way we work):
Buy multiple monitors for your employees. Why does it help? Imagine how many documents your team members print because they are forced to work with them when creating presentations or reviewing critical information. Multiple screens reduce the need to print documents, make it easier to stay paperless, and provide more room for your employees. Moreover, they allow for better spatial memory and a more comprehensive overview of information your team members need access to.
Buying multiple monitors can change the way you work.
Paperless Company #15: Quality Logo Products
Bret Bonnet, Co-Founder & President, Quality Logo Products
My best piece of advice when going paperless is to avoid relying on an actual document that you must archive. In other words, don’t replace a form with a PDF or scan of the document if it’s not necessary. Enter the data into the system directly and let the system generate the PDF or other documents/reports as needed on demand.
Enter the data into the system directly and only generate documents as needed.
Paperless Company #16: Music Minds
Adam Chase, President, Music Minds
When you make the decision to go paperless, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the documents and other things you use for your business. It’s important to do it this way because you’ll inevitably forget something if you don’t, and this can hamper your transition.
Once you have a list, prioritize the rollout. What’s going to save you the most? Start looking for digital solutions such as Google Drive for documents and spreadsheets, DocuSign for contracts, and payroll management software to handle your payroll digitally.
Making the switch in stages helps portion out the workload and allows everyone to get used to the new systems and tech you’ll be using, so it’s definitely my preference.
Before you go paperless, make a list of all your business documents.
Paperless Company #17: ReceetMe, Ltd.
Helene Berkowitz, Founder & CEO, ReceetMe, Ltd.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. If a solution—even a partial one—already exists, use it.
A spa chain wanting to replace paper-based appointment bookings doesn’t have to invest in costly, time-consuming R&D efforts. They can utilize existing online scheduling tools like Genbook, YouCanBook.me, or others.
New employee onboarding is typically a paper-laden process of employee handbooks, tax forms, and printed materials. Companies can move their new hire onboarding online by incorporating on-demand videos, digital walkthroughs or tutorials (think WalkMe), or online presentations. For an even simpler option, Google Workspace (formerly G-Suite) offers a comprehensive suite of web-based tools that are completely paperless and easy to use.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, go with existing solutions.
Paperless Company #18: WikiLawn
Dan Bailey, President, WikiLawn
My best advice for going paperless is to back up everything. Absolutely every physical document you have in your office. Scan it and make a digital copy that you put in cloud storage. You’ll want to have it in some kind of database in the future, and this will ensure you don’t ever lose it.
Make this a priority, too. It should honestly be the first thing you do, especially if you’re making your customer records digital-only. You need to get your physical records digitized as quickly as possible so you can set up the system and best practices.
Back up absolutely every physical document you have in your office.
Paperless Company #19: Hayden Girls
Hosea Chang, Chief Operating Officer, Hayden Girls
If you want to be paperless, find a project management and internal communication software for your company. At Hayden Girls, we use Basecamp for all of our organizational and communication needs. It allows us to set schedules and view each other’s calendars, make announcements, have group chats and private chats, share documents, automate weekly surveys, among others. When you realize that there is software available that allows you to do everything and more that you were previously using paper for, you realize that not only is paper unnecessary, it’s inconvenient, too. I think a lot of people are hesitant to transition to paperless, because using paper is all they know. But the moment they realize that paper actually makes their life harder, they will find going paperless to be much more appealing. Investing in a new management and communication software will start the domino effect.
Start the domino effect by investing in software.
Paperless Company #20: Test Prep Insight
John Ross, CEO, Test Prep Insight
My best advice for companies wishing to go totally paperless is to invest in tablets for each of your employees. One of the biggest things we missed after going paperless was the ability to markup documents with freehand annotations. To do this, you’re going to need a PDF software tool, but no matter which tool you use, you’re going to want a tablet and stylus for this task. At first we tried doing our freehand markups on our touchscreen laptops with our fingers, but it was a nightmare. I had no idea just how much we annotated our docs and using a clunky index finger on a touchscreen laptop was bogging us down. So I ended up getting a Microsoft Surface for every employee, and it has made a world of difference. You can quickly pull up PDFs on your tablet, mark up the doc in red digital ink with a stylus, and send it right back to the sender within just a couple minutes. It is incredibly more efficient than doing things on a laptop or desktop.
Investing in tablets for each of your employees increases efficiency.