What is paperless communication?

May 15th 2020

Paperless communication in a work environment is external and internal communication without the use of paper. This is done by promoting digital communication within the workplace, as well as with external parties such as suppliers, banks, and contractors.

How is paperless communication different?

At a basic level, the simple difference between paper-based communication and paperless communication is whether or not you use paper. This key difference also affects other aspects of your communication, by not printing documents when you need them, you need to think of a different way to replace the paper communication. 

For example, if you are used to leave requests being done by a paper form, you have to consider how you will process leave requests without using paper, such as using a digital form, and how that will change the way communication occurs within the office.

Why should we adopt paperless communication?

Paperless communication has a lot of benefits such as:

  1. Improved productivity: Having your data stored digitally on the cloud makes it faster to access the information later. You can also automate the storage of your documents to reduce time spent doing admin work, such as automatically storing email attachments that meet a certain criteria into your document repository.
  2. Save money and space: Less paper documents mean less money spent on printing and storing your documents, as well as less space taken up by file cabinets in the office space.
  3. Better security and disaster recovery: Documents can be easily recovered from the cloud, and it’s easier to make your documents secure by controlling access, allowing you to protect confidential information.
  4. Easier collaboration: By storing documents on the cloud, teams can work on the same document simultaneously.

How do you adopt paperless communication?

The first consideration is your internal communication, what are some of the ways you communicate in your office that uses paper? Some examples are:

  • Giving printed payslips to your employees
  • Printing meeting agendas and minutes
  • Using paper forms for leave requests, and other business processes.
  • Printing, signing, and then scanning legal documents.

Take a look at each of the ways you use paper in the office for internal communication, and consider how you could replace your paper-based communication with a paperless approach. Looking at the previous examples, you could do the following to make them paperless:

  • Email the payslips to your employees
  • Email the meeting agenda to attendants before the meeting, and put the meeting minutes in a shared, accessible place such as Google Drive.
  • Replace your paper forms with something simple like Google Forms, or Locale Central if your forms are more complex.
  • Instead of printing a document that needs to be signed, use an application like Adobe Acrobat to sign your document digitally.

Then for external communication, typically the challenge there is correspondence you receive by mail, such as bank statements and invoices. Most banks now provide the option to send statements via email, and a lot of other third parties such as suppliers are happy to send their letters via email instead. After you have set up receiving correspondence by email, set up an app like Google Drive, OneDrive, or DropBox to store your documents digitally.

Remember, adopting paperless communication does not have to happen overnight, even a gradual change to using less paper is great for productivity, cost saving, and the environment.

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