Confused about paperless offices in West Virginia? It’s understandable. Most people do not understand what a paperless office is, why they’d want one, or how to go about becoming one. This blog post aims to answer all those questions.
An Introduction to Paperless Offices in West Virginia
What Is a Paperless Office?
Paperless offices in West Virginia and elsewhere are offices run with the intention to reduce or eliminate the use of paper. Employees scan documents they need to save, upload information into data storage systems, and cut out paper usage from printing, mailing, filing, and training materials. In other words, instead of saving the documents on paper, documents are created or scanned in and saved digitally. Paperless offices save the digital files on computers or servers in the office, on servers off-site (“in the cloud”), or both.
The aims of going paperless are to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly office as well as reduce costs, address security issues, and improve efficiency. Depending on the office in question and its unique goals, the approach to going paperless may be different.
Pros and Cons of Paperless Offices in West Virginia
As with anything, small businesses considering this digital transition will find there are pros and cons of a paperless office. There are several positive points to having a paperless office to consider:
- cost savings associated with reduced paper, ink, and equipment costs;
- spending less time searching for files;
- improving service time for customers and clients;
- preventing file misplacement;
- improving security;
- reducing the risk of loss from disasters where digital files are backed up;
- making more efficient use of office space after removing file cabinets;
- being able to take files wherever the work is; and
- sharing files with employees and partners in multiple locations.
There are also some cons to running a paperless office:
- Some files can’t be stored electronically;
- Some customers and clients still want paper documents;
- Software and equipment needed for going paperless, such as PDF software and scanners, may be different than what you already have;
- Employees must be trained to use the new software and hardware equipment;
- If mistakes happen in scanning or entering information, there is no hard copy back-up; and
- While going paperless can eliminate many legal complications regarding file retention and storage, in some cases going paperless may change file retention and security requirements, depending on the document.
How to Go Paperless
When transitioning to become a paperless office in West Virginia, the best practice for small businesses is to do so a little bit at a time. Designate one particular class or group of documents, such as those with HIPAA constraints or other legal document retention requirements, to be uploaded first, for instance.
Part of the transition process includes training your personnel. Explain the need for going paperless to your staff and then provide training on how to to upload, maintain, and search for the digital documents.
File storage and security are also issues to address. If you don’t already have one, look into a business continuity plan to maximize the benefits of going paperless. A business continuity plan is an established back-up plan on how to continue operations should the office suffer an outage or equipment downtime. You should also establish a disaster recovery plan, which addresses how to get the office systems up and running smoothly again following an interruption caused by a disaster, mistake, or cyber attack.
Most offices do not go completely paperless. It’s best to determine the main goals to be achieved with going paperless and aim for maintaining as little paper as possible. In making these determinations, consider what must be in a paper format for practicality, customer satisfaction, or legal reasons. Also evaluate whether any of your clients or vendors still use paper and how going paperless in WV would impact your transactions with them.
Have you considered becoming one of the paperless offices in West Virginia or surrounding states and want more information? Talk to experts in paperless offices, data storage options in WV, and much more– ComTech Consulting, LLC. Our experienced technicians are available by email at Sales@ComTechSBS.com or by phone at (304) 720-8491.