The silent spreader – paper hurting more than just the webs of our fingers

The silent spreader

Well, it’s fair to say it’s been a crazy few months on multiple fronts. The ‘C’ word that we’re all sick of hearing about has wreaked havoc on society and on business, and in doing so, has forced employers to evaluate their internal systems and make moves to seriously consider futuristic structures that have now been fast-tracked.

As the world desperately tries to shake a rather niggly COVID-19, one of the things that businesses have had to assess is the greater emphasis on improving health and safety in the workplace, which is why it’s important that businesses get on board with new options that are available. It will not only keep staff and customers safe from viruses but will also help protect the core business.

When we’re looking at health and safety, everybody is talking about wiping down surfaces, doorknobs and the like, but something people may not have considered yet, is the role that paper plays in harvesting and spreading viruses. Paper, as it is presumed integral to workflow, passes through multiple hands in a short space of time – it’s not called a paper trail for nothing.

Meeting minutes, inspections reports, health and safety forms, sign-in forms, post-it notes and checklists, all carry viruses, and while our short stint of working from home gave us a glimpse into a paperless office, we really want to avoid all the shuffling of paper again as we get back into physical spaces.

The fix?

A digital system. While converting to a paperless solution may sound overwhelming, it can actually be simple, increase productivity and obviously reduce the risk of virus transmission. An electronic form or document facilitates not only the instant transfer of information, but also the ability to extract meta data – it’s traceable too. Here are our tops tips to consider when thinking about switching to a digital paperless solution:

1. Keep it simple

  • When adopting a paperless digital solution, make sure it’s both easy to use and capable of integrating workflows.

2. Segment your workflow

  • It’s a good idea to identify and separate the three parts that typically make up a paperless work system:
    • Internal company communications and paper flow.
    • External company communications and workflow e.g. quotations and receipts.
    • High contact points in a business, e.g. paper, goods receivable and dispatch etc.

2. Systemise your end-to-end touch points

  • Workflow will normally follow an end-to-end process. If you can identify what those are, you can create a system to manage each one. It will not only minimise transmission of viruses and bacteria, but it will also make your business more efficient.

Somehow, we have to bring our love affair with that silent spreader – paper – to an end, and perhaps the dangers posed by COVID-19 and other viruses will accelerate the shift to a paperless office.

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