Nobody can deny the impact of technology on our everyday lives. Especially the impact it has had in the recent 5 years. However, companies today still struggle with taking (as much as possible) advantage of what modern world has to offer.
One of those advantages being the possibility of having less physical baggage. Paper.
Why we decided to go paperless
One of the crucial factors in deciding to go paperless was the fact that we wanted to be mobile. We wanted to be that kind of company that offers their employees the possibility of working from home whenever they wanted or weren’t able to come to the office. We wanted to be that kind of company which doesn’t let the geographical factors influence its business. We wanted to be the kind of company that has the possibility to hire with ease someone abroad if we wanted to.
Having everything in the cloud made just that possible.
Another factor that had a big influence on the decision was the efficiency. Instead of wasting time searching for a piece of paper in filing cabinets with hundreds of folders, it’s easy to pull up a document from a searchable digital database within moments. Same applies to storing - instead of finding the optimal place to store a document, it takes only a couple of moments to upload the file.
Although some company owners still feel like having their documents stored digitally is unsafe, that is hardly true if stored properly. First of all, the potential for misfiling or losing digital documents is much lower than the paper ones. Furthermore, if regular backups are performed, in case of (almost any) catastrophe, the damage will be much smaller than if a fire occurs in a non-paperless company.
However, we do advise on educating employees about basics of online security and providing them with necessary tools, such as a password manager. Of course, no filing system ever provides 100% security as the breaches can always be found, but digital systems tend to be more reliable.
What online tools do we use
Let me start by saying that this blog post has not been sponsored and these are actual tools we use and would recommend to others.
Project & task management
We like to think the simplest solution is often the best one. That is why we enjoy using Gitlab for all our tasks tasks and note-taking, and we are not alone since it’s a very popular tool both for individuals and businesses.
Come on, this is an obvious one. :-)
We try to stay away from emails as much as possible but that is not always convenient. We don’t use Google nor Gmail for the obvious privacy reasons, instead we use Fastmail as home for all of our company emails.
Nextcloud is home for all of our company’s documents. However, we also make sure to perform regular backups and store files at more than just one place to be sure we are not to lose anything in case of an accident.
In our opinion, Zendesk is by far best in this area.
The tool of our choice here is Harvest. With their beautiful design, simplicity and reliability, they are welcome in our digital tool family.
These are some basic digital tools that we use on a general level, but it goes without saying that the individual positions require their own set of tools. For example, our developers use their own set of extra tools, marketing department uses their own and our designer (me) uses her own tools as an addition to the above-mentioned ones.
Tips for going paperless
1. Do your research.
Before moving all your files to one file management service, it’s important to make sure the service suits your needs well. Compare different services and prices among each other and get a basic idea what is out there.
2. Test drive your choice.
Most of the services offer either a free trial or a limited free version of their product. Don’t hesitate to apply for it if you are considering the product. Don’t make all your colleagues switch to a particular provider only to notice after 10 days it’s not what you bargained for.
3. Stick with a service.
If you have decided what apps will work best for you business, stick with it. Don’t change the apps constantly as it will probably turn out to be more time-consuming and expensive than it was intended to be in the first place.
4. If you really don’t like the service, switch.
I’m aware that this is a contradictory statement to the previous one, but it’s true. Although I still stand behind what I said, it’s also important to keep in mind you don’t want to be frustrated by an application. If the product gives you and/or your colleagues more frustration and headaches than it does good, then it might be time to go looking for a more suitable one.
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