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Paperless office during pandemic

Ana Canteli

Written by Ana Canteli on 20 august 2021

Most jobs today can be carried out from a remote place using a computer, such ability had been accessible for a long time. But, the 2020 events gave a forced push to this new approach.

Over time, more and more companies came to the idea that working in paperless offices is no longer an obligation, trend, or fad. However, it even represents a desirable work style, both at the organizational level and personal.

It is undeniable that landing the concept of a paperless office has been difficult for many, but it is also possible to see the benefits of working without papers.

Digital transformation was and is an urgency for many organizations, especially for SMEs, which by their nature can present more difficulties in adapting to changes. We do not forget the public administrations, entities whose reason for being is to ensure the rights of people. Hence, in these particular circumstances, they see the paperless office as an advantage at the management level of their obligations. These advantages are also affordable for any organization; with proper treatment, office activities can transform tasks into online processes with effort and commitment, but without negative consequences for the company.

The benefits of the paperless office have a positive and direct impact on the information management system. To begin with, it significantly improves the treatment of information, contributing to the protection of privacy, the implementation of a safe and effective data protection policy. If, in addition, the entity has good document management software, it will allow it to implement a paperless office quickly and safely; therefore, the return on investment will be justified by the speed and reliability with which the digital transformation is applied in the company. From managing paper documents - deciding what to do with the space dedicated to documenting storage - going through the processes (making them accessible through mobile applications, for example) or security risks that can raise the fact of having a large part of the staff connected from mobile devices.

The benefits of going paperless are undeniable. They drive the business towards a more secure and promising future, but that does not mean that the process is dizzying or no longer a challenge for the company. Data collection through digital forms is much safer and more effective than if we do the same with physical documents; what happens if a natural disaster occurs?).

Check that the document security policy is observed and complied with, both digitally and with paper documentation or digitized documents. These challenges require a leadership team presence committed to the organization and, above all, to the direction it is going to take.

To relieve staff of responsibilities, or make them understandable by workers, having advanced enterprise content management software is essential. Frankly, today it is impossible to tackle the digital transformation, aspire to the benefits of the paperless office or offer products and services through the new channels of the information society without having an electronic document management system. Whatever, and starting from wherever, but electronic document management is a must. And if before, whoever wanted to could resist, in times of pandemic it is an obligation.

What's more, who was going to tell us that even the concept of social responsibility would change, promoted by this exceptional situation. Previously, the idea of corporate social responsibility was related to the economic or environmental well-being that companies could provide to the society in which they operated. Now, to remain socially responsible, it is necessary to facilitate any process in an online format and not only to customers but especially to employees, who are the portion of society directly affected by the decisions made by the company.

A sound document management system will allow the organization to adapt to the new times from its status. If you need to consider the digitization of the documentary collection, the chosen software has to facilitate the process. The OpenKM electronic records and document management system has, among its applications, solutions that enable scanning, receiving documentation, signing, exchanging documents, etc.

OpenKM being an open-source technology software, the system does not present any technical barrier to integrating with third-party applications like artificial intelligence. This can be done transparently to the user if required. The end-user can work directly on the document management system, or it can be integrated with an application (a web form) that collects the data transferred to OpenKM. Thanks to the zonal OCR, it can recognize different types of documents that enter OpenKM through a hot folder, or as an e-mail attachment, or inserted by hand by a user. The system then performs all the document management tasks.

One of the most appreciated advantages of document management platforms is the possibility of creating automated processes in the system. OpenKM automatisms allow the definition of business processes within the digital environment. In this way, the organization can also ensure better compliance with internal rules, industry standards, or even applicable laws online. In addition, OpenKM's document management software includes a workflow engine that automatically enables digital workflow implementation within the company.

Finally, creating a paperless work environment implies knowing and implementing a code of good practice for a paperless office. At OpenKM, we are aware that the information and training of the personnel who will work with the system are essential to guarantee the project's success. That is why from the OpenKM Academy, we offer courses adapted to the profile of each user: end-user, administrator, consultant, even developer.

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