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Going Paperless Can Reshape Your Office Culture

The office culture of many companies, included listed multi-nationals, has a direct impact on productivity. Executives are both stagnant and reluctant to evolve into a modern organisation.  Now more than ever, we need to see the ‘shift’ and companies utilize technology and accommodate the changing work styles of people.  Technology is evolving and businesses want enterprise productivity but are not adapting to the modern work practices today. There will be huge consequences from a competitive advantage and also employee engagement perspective.  Moving to a paperless office is one critical way of improving organisation culture and performance. 

When you Google the meaning of the word “irony”, you get the following definition:

There is one thing missing from the synonyms list though, ‘a typical office’.

Take a quick glance at the items present within arm’s reach at your office desk and you may notice the ‘irony’. You’re typing emails on your computer or mobile device, but the wall space next to your monitor is filled with post-it notes and you have a pen and notepad next to your keyboard . You check into the office using a special access card, but continuously print out pages of new company policies to distribute or pin up on notice boards.

When other important correspondence arrives, via post or fax, you scan and save a digital copy to keep it from getting lost. Wait, what?

People in business today must escape the contradiction, where conformity is the norm. And to do that, you must realize two things:

  • Much of the habits of our work are a result of learned behavior or culture that prevails in the ‘traditional’ office environment; and
  • It can be changed.

But first, let’s look at what the almighty keeper of the internet, Google has to say about the word “culture”.

By this definition, we see that there is a paradox in the way people rely on paper, yet so active on their digital devices. It’s not to say that paper should be eliminated entirely. Certain legal and regulatory compliances may prevent that from happening. And even if successful in drastically reducing paper usage in the office, partners and suppliers may refuse to budge from old-fashioned methods of sending invoices and proposals.

So we must start with low hanging fruit and address our internal office culture first.

If the classical conditioning theory of learning tells us anything; behavior, like most human traits, is learned. But more importantly, it can be unlearned. And the kinds of behavior that need to be unlearned, are the ones developed in a traditional 20th Century style of work.

Consider an (paper-based) organization-wide employee survey.  It looks straightforward. But once you add the time and cost of distributing the forms, collecting data, reviewing, sending it back for correction, validation, legibility issues and then handing to IT to produce in-depth analytics – it all adds up. Pretty soon everyone’s desk ends up looking like this…

You don’t want to be that company.

With any cultural shift, there will be people who resist. The common reasons why resistance exists in implementing a paperless office includes:

  • Existing bureaucracy
  • Present information sharing is adequate
  • Workflow visibility is not the priority
  • Current speed of feedback is acceptable
  • Negative view on accessibility through cloud
  • Hoarding of information in private cubicles is the norm

Employees may view the shift as a threat to their individual power to work and share information in their own way. Management may see it as a significant financial costs to invest in IT infrastructure, cloud servers, software and numerous training sessions. It will be several months before investment nets a return.

However, there is a way to remedy both parties’ concerns and hit two birds with one stone.

1. Adopt an enterprise mobility solution specifically for the purpose of increasing enterprise productivity, and

2. Drastically reduce paper usage.

This can be implemented while maintaining and enhancing employees’ autonomy on information sharing and the company’s data security. And it’s all done at a fraction of the cost of standard on-site solutions.

Employees can use their personal mobile devices, anywhere and anytime, and be more productive and connected with their workplace. By transforming paper-based forms, the transfer of information and its subsequent effect on company progress becomes quantifiable in a way that wasn’t possible before. And through an extremely simple tool such as transform studio, any tech savvy person in the company can build an application to your liking, instantly publish it and have it work on all devices without conflict or corruption.

So if you are tired of working in a 20th-century style manner, make a positive difference to your workplace and become a 21st-century enterprise and sign up to Makeen transform today. 

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